Rye Poetry Path

We spent several days over the Thanksgiving holiday in Rye, NY with my sister and her family. On our first morning there I was delighted to accompany my brother-in-law to the dog park with their adorable dog, Maisy. I’ve heard a LOT about the dog park and was looking forward to it. Going to the park with Maisy has become part of my brother-in-law’s daily routine. He describes his daily time at the park as “like a cocktail hour, only quieter and with coffee.” He enjoys the time with the dogs, their interactions, and the complex social dynamics at play amongst both canines and humans. I enjoy hearing about them.

I’d been to Rye Town Park long ago, before my sister and her family were dog owners and part of the early morning dog set. It’s lovely, beautifully landscaped and abutting Long Island Sound. I was curious to see what the “dog park” part was all about, even though I am NOT a dog person. So, I eagerly set out, expecting the people interactions and the dog interactions, but little did I know that I would find a Poetry Friday post!

As we entered the park and walked by a small pond, I noticed this:

Then, right around the corner was this:

Forget about the dogs, there was poetry here! (I warned you that I’m not a dog person.)

It turns out that the town of Rye has a Poetry Path and the park is part of it. It’s liberally sprinkled with poetry in all sorts of creative installations. These were just two of many. Each one has a plaque that tells the name of the poem and the author. If you click on their site, you can read the poem and there’s a link to learn more about the author. According to the site, the poems are “a collaborative public art installation designed to spark reflection and conversation around themes of community, conservation, and social justice.” Rye Town Park provides a home for 39 of these poems in out of an 82-poem installation. The two above by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (here) and Lillian Moore (here) are just two of many that captivated me.

Then, before leaving on Friday, we took some time to walk at the nearby Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary before getting in the car for our long ride home. It had been raining all day, and initially mist and clouds prevailed. Still, it was a lovely place to visit and as we walked, the skies cleared and the sun came out. We weren’t the only ones out and about enjoying the brightening day.

Here, too, much to my delight, there was poetry. We passed multiple installations and each one struck a chord. Apparently, the Rye Poetry Path has installed 16 poems here. They were perfectly situated and again, it was clear that the effort “to honor the spirit of the poem and the space it’s in” had been fully achieved.

On some future
day perhaps the water will rise over
the trail and no one will stand
where I stand now.
No death to all this
just some life becoming other life.

Ian Pollock

As water, cleared of the reflection of a bird 
That has lately flown across it, 
Yet trembles with the beating of its wings, 
So my soul . . . emptied of the known you . . . utterly . . . 
Is yet vibrant with the cadence of the song

Lola Ridge

so we are here in this plant-created oxygen,
drinking this sweet rain, consuming this green

A.R. Ammons

The long, sleek, and pointed call
that rose, as if in response, out of the estuary
of night and storm, said it knew well
what the given world gave, and wanted more.

Fred Marchant

If I’d had more time, I would have enjoyed wandering through all the locations in Rye to find and savor each poem. As it is, the poems I did find, some familiar, some new-to-me, added a rich layer to my visit. What a wonderful initiative to bring poetry out into a community!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Michelle Kogan at her blog. She’s sharing a lovely poem and quotes and links from a recent NYT article about the ongoing work of artists from Ukraine.

20 thoughts on “Rye Poetry Path

  1. margaretsmn says:

    This poetry installation makes me want to do something similar here. What would it take, I wonder? So beautiful and inspirational! I always love your photography too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    Absolutely fabulous! A park of poetry. I’m enjoying your description and excitement over finding it. Now, I want to go there! The deer looking right at you is the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan says:

    I love this! Rye is only about a half hour from my house (well, if the traffic is good), and I can’t wait to go see the Poetry Path. Thank you so much for writing about it. I had no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh! I want a poetry path! I would love to know how they made this happen. So many good ways of creating poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, thank you so much for sharing the Poetry Path, a collaborative public art installation. I have not seen anything as grand as this and to have poetry linked to the natural habitat is a plus.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lindabaie says:

    Oh, Molly, just the site for you. What a marvelous idea those thoughtful people have created! I love the thought of “just some life becoming other life.” Rebecca’s, and always your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! Poetry paths everywhere! What a JOY! I am a dog person but a dog park WITH POETRY might be a pathway to heaven! Like others, I wonder if it can be done elsewhere! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think I’m now a Maisy person, but dog person would be stretching it! lol I didn’t see any dog poems there, but they might want to consider judiciously placing one where the dogs romp and play.


  8. maryleehahn says:

    I love hearing more about this fantastic path!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. katswhiskers says:

    Oh wow! Thank-you for this, Molly. You have watered the germ of an idea/dream that I have… Such a lovely meander-with-you post… and beautiful photos. I love that deer(?) headshot. So sweet and clear! And too, the grass/seed heads in the foreground of a cloudy/sunny sky.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for this treasure filled poetry post Molly, what a find! Lovely pics too, and perhaps there are some poems percolating from your walk…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Karen Edmisten says:

    Poetry everywhere! I love it. Maisy does indeed look adorable, even to non-dog people. We adopted a kitten from the shelter a few months ago and my daughter named her Maisy. Such a sweet name.


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