Web 2.0 Wednesday: A Sense of Place

Michele, over at The Bamboo Project, had an interesting idea for this week’s Web 2.0 Wednesday and that is to capture a sense of place of where you live.

So, I did, in a poem and podcast in honor of my city:

This City Moves
(listen to the podcast)

You can find yourself in this place —
where Sylvia Plath
buried herself beneath layers of lines of poetry
while wandering along the paths and ponds of Smith College;
where Jonathan Edwards first preached religious revivalism
in a voice that still echoes through time
in the brick church at the city’s center;
where the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles sprung to life
with a slice of pizza in hand and attitude in mind
that brought a green tint to everything;
and still, it teems with life:
from the punked out kids hanging on the street corners —
to the musicians singing harmony with a collection cup at their feet —
to the artists with easels set up to capture life like a camera —
to the uplifting vitality of the Young at Heart Chorus looking life in the eye:
this place flows beneath you
and into you.

The older ones remember the downtown as deserted —
a boarded up ghost town of shops where no one shopped
and storefronts adorned with broken windows —
but I only know my city as the place where the arts have come to grow,
and me, too,
as I moved from a lost soul wandering
to this man with my feet on the ground,
and kids in the yard,
and the vision of this place as one that nurtures us into our truest selves.

The sound of the Mill River dances in our ears
as it meanders down from the north,
bringing with it the ice melt of Vermont and New Hampshire,
and making it possible for the daring boys of summer to make the girls gasp
as the boys plunge
with leaping prowess into the pools below the waterfalls.
We’re content to drop sticks and watch our boats float,
catching the current as the river cuts around our city,
through Look Park, along the Rail Trail,
and feeding into the Oxbow — a huge swath of water created by glaciers–
before flowing down into the Connecticut River,
and then, out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Somewhere, we know, our sticks continue,
buoyed on by boyhood dreams of adventure
and cast about like messages in a bottle.

Between Boston and New York City, this small city of ours thrives
although not without its problems
and not without its own burdens
of drugs,
and politics,
and even violence from time to time.
This place is no snow globe that remains stable and anchored
as the Gods shake things loose —
our city moves
and we move right along with it.

Peace (in poems),

  1. Kevin, this is WONDERFUL. I loved that you did a podcast of the poem–hearing a poet read his work adds layers of meaning that I think we miss when we read the words on the page. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Thank you
    It was a poem built on inspiration and I did it quick.
    I’d have to go back and look at it, revise, etc, but for now — for what it is — I like it.
    The podcast was an after-thought, although I do try to podcast my poems.
    Thanks for the comments

  3. Tēnā koe Kevin

    There’s a school of thought that says the poem should be spoken not written. This goes way back. But take it back far enough and there was no writing. Poems were passed on though. It meant a lot of telling, but it also meant a lot of learning and refining with some digression.

    But in those days, only the spoken word came out of the poet’s horn.

    Ka kite

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