November 2, 2012, Friday, 306


From The Peopling of New York City


Wiki Home -- The Fire That Changed America --The Victims -- Triangle Walking Tour

We Remember

Fragements from the Fire Poems by Chris Llewellyn (pp 37 and 38) Dedication: "Poems concerning the Triangle Fire of March 25, 1911, are written in memory of sisters who died in the fire- Bettina and Frances Miale, Rosalie and Lucia Maltese, Sara and Arafine Sariciano."

One poem in particular captures the horror of the fire:

"Survivor's Cento"

All through the day rain ever and again
The quartet from the Elks lodge sange "Abide with Me"
They lost both daughters, Sara and Sarafine
Last year I was one of the pickets arrested and fined
We were striking for open doors, better fire escapes
Freda Velakowski, Ignatzia Bellota, Celia Eisenberg
You knew the families from the flowers nailed to the doors
That's my mama. Her name's Julia Rosen. I know her by her hair. I braid it every morning
Now the same police who clubbed the strikers keep the crowd from trampling on our bodies.
Said Nausbaum, Gussie Bierman, Anna Cohen, Israel Rosen.
I know that's my daughter, Sophie Salemi. See that darn in her knee? Mended her stockings, yesterday.
Box one-twelve: femlae, black stockings, black shoes, part of a skirt, a white petticoat, hair ribbons.
I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came to talk good fellowship:
Jennie Franco, Julia Aberstein, Jospeh Wilson, Nicolina Nicolese.
I found a mouse on the 9th floor, took it home kept it for a pet. At least it was still alive.
Our children go to work in fire traps, come home and sleep in fire traps.
Day and night they are condenmed.
Ninth floor looked like a kindergarten.
We were 8, 9, 10.
If the Inspector came, they hid us in bins.
Rose Feibush, Clotild Terdanova, Mary Leventhal.
That one's Catherine Maltese, and those, her daughers.
Lucia, she's twenty. Rosalie- she'd be fourteen.
Those two are sisters, Bettina and Frances Miale. M-I-A-L-E.
We asked the Red Cross worker how to hep and she said bring books- Tolstoy, Shakespeare in Yiddish.
Ebney Costello said he knew his sister Della by her new shoes.
Anna Ardito, Gussie Rosenfield, Sara Kupla, Essie Bernstein,
reminders to spend my life fighting these conditions.
Antonia Colleti, Daisy Lopez Fitz, Surka Breman, Margaret Schwartz,
One coffin read: Becky Kessler, call for tomorrow.
The eighth casket had neither name nor number. It contained fragments from the fire, picked but never claimed.