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