Passing Words

The town in which I live, for the past nine years has had a Sidewalk Poetry contest. The winning poems are set into the cement of sidewalks around town, for the people to enjoy. Last night I attended a Sidewalk poetry event where this years winning poets read their poems to the public. It was held on Bridge Square downtown, and the evening was beautiful. Some friends played music for the event and this year for the first time, Spanish submissions were accepted. So there was a Spanish speaker who translated all of the poetry for the Hispanic people in the audience, and a Mexican singer sang a few songs in Spanish with the music group. Northfield has it’s own poet laureate and has always been involved in arts, culture, and music. In recent years it has experienced more cultural diversity with Hispanic and African people moving to town. While I walked home afterward I formed this poem in my head, quickly writing it down when I got inside so as not to forget.

Passing Words

Words spoken and sung,
in various languages.
Meanings and cultures mingled,
ideas floated on the wind.

Words, embossed in cement for
all to grasp and grapple with,
to chase and lose between
the hands of time and space.

Words to pass knowledge
and emotion, to bring the
young into the world to be
more than those who have been.

Poetry must always bind
those who hear to a higher
purpose than can be
imagined through simple words.


  1. Butch, thanks for attending, and thanks even more for writing about this sidewalk poetry event. Even though this is a community of PhD’s, sabbaticals and lofty convocations, the winners of our sidewalk poetry contest have included truck drivers and store clerks.

    Liked by 1 person

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