Beginning in 1989, St. Olaf College has commissioned Mac
Gimse '57, who has taught there since 1970, to create sculpture
and poetry for six Nobel Prize Laureates who have visited campus.
His most recent work honored Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureate in 2002.
According to Gimse, the sculpture, Roots and Wings, represents
the cycle of life and the struggle for freedom. The sculpture was
presented to former President Carter in February 2004, along with
the following poem by Gimse:
Mothers cradle child on child,
And fathers search the fresh of earth,
To pass their hands of nurturing
through the springtime of our birth.
The harmony of humans is heard
As discord against the sound of kisses
boldly on our cheek from newborn fugitives
Waking with their loud(ly) cries for freedom.
Our place for throwing sower's seeds
Is fenced on soils to stand
Where toils of feet are planted
bending life to living land.
In childhood our deepest need is kinship,
however dear or distant, to fine-tune covenants
of decency that shape and savor
the fruits of all our labor.
We are here to sow the tilling seed,
Stab fields through summer fires;
Feel roots deep digging downward,
Watching shoots loft into spires.
Rubbing is the true feel of poverty,
Bruising into community refugees
Without shelter whose die-threads weave
our gift of life into their plea for solidarity.
Throwers of the sowing seed
Stride wing to wing in creation's dance
To harvest all that nature knows
Is given by God's own chance.
So stand, flesh-on-bones,
Wake now you and all humanity,
To speak our single-throated story
That beyond the stones which hold our walls,
We are cradled,
all and only,
by the sea.