First posted in February 2010 and again in 2013. Thanks Timons Esaias Guest Poet
Tim’s Poem Came to Mind as I Admired the Concrete First Time in Two Weeks – Photographed Feb 2010
By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them
Originally there were eleven Commandments
Moses, perhaps confused by the unfamiliar
snow, ice, and sidewalk,
botched one, and left it out.
But Buddha said that though Life is Pain,
falling on ice is gratuitous pain
and those who cause it, by neglect,
should never escape the Wheel of Rebirth;
and Lao-Tzu agreed, for those who will not
clear the path will never find the Way.
Zoroaster, in the endless war of light
against ice, demanded diligence;
claimed that those who surrender
the public way to the Enemy
have empty souls,
can scarcely be regarded as human.
The Prophet, regarding sidewalks and snow,
is silent; but his sura
Sand Drifting Against the Caravanserai Gate
is thought to apply. The condemnation there
is brutal and eternal.
Plato counted safe sidewalks as fundamental
to the ideal Republic, noting that those remiss
in this clear duty lacked all character;
and his pupil – perceptive, immortal Aristotle-
further declared, famously, that
lack of character
Timons Esaias is a writer and poet living in Pittsburgh. His short stories, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in fourteen languages. He has had over a hundred poems in print, including Spanish, Swedish and Chinese translations, in such markets as 5AM, Bathtub Gin, Main Street Rag, Willard & Maple, Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Literary Journal of Baseball and many others. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and won the Asimov’s Readers Award. His poetry chapbook, The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture, sold out two editions. He is Adjunct Faculty at Seton Hill University, in the Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. Program. This poem was originally published in hotmetalpoets.com when it existed.
This entry was posted on February 19, 2010. It was filed under poetry, Things in the Snow and was tagged with city scene, HIghland Park, photo of the day, photography, Pittsburgh, Poem, poet, poetry, shovel, sidewalk, snow, Timons Esaias, urban scene, winter scene.
Too deep for me.
February 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Edit
Makes me happy that our sidewalks are clear and clean – thanks to Mike!! I couldn’t handle all those punishments! Seems like an almost normal day today!! Thanks for starting it with something special!!! Did Bill mean the snow was too deep – or the poem??!! Either way, I agree! My mind is mush (like this snow will soon be) — been in the house too long!!!
February 19, 2010 at 8:42 am Edit
All tis is great Ruth. It is like your photos and words are a diary of living through these snowy days.
February 19, 2010 at 9:12 am Edit
Too wonderful for … words?? Changes my attitude on shoveling, altho I am already somewhat aware that I smile and feel satisfaction when I get to the concrete! A bit anxious now, tho, about the snow still on the bushes, bending branches low over the sidewalk leading to my caravanserai gate ……!
February 19, 2010 at 9:52 am Edit
There is a special place in hell
where, frozen in ice, only his rear
exposed to Satan’s teeth, he’ll dwell
whose sidewalk’s untouched while his driveway’s clear.
February 19, 2010 at 10:50 am Edit
that is one great photo
February 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm Edit
I know the snow is a pain, but it is beautiful. I enjoy the pic very much.
A few years ago this Mary statue was a curbside alert through the neighborhood listserve so I walked up to Winterton St. to save her from the trash.
She was peeling paint and looking a bit worn. Somehow it didn’t seem right to have her picked up by the garbage truck. So I put her in my side “garden” and called her Our Lady of the Weeds (due to my lack of gardening effort)
About the same time I hired a friend of a friend to come and do some master gardening, get rid of the weeds, plant something decent. And the skilled gardener took the Mary statue home with her and she was gone a couple of months. The gardener is an excellent puppeteer and brightened up the statue with new paint. In fact, when she was returned it took awhile to get used to her brightness and revitalization.
Then my neighbor restored the bird bath bowl my father gave me when I bought the house.
One day I came home and the Mary statue was perched in the now repaired bird bath.
It’s been a team effort to get me spiffed up around here.
This Spring I’ll take a new photo with the plantings and green surrounding her.
I won the tickets. We parked on the North Side for free and walked to Heinz Field. We didn’t buy anything at the game. Not a hotdog or a foam finger or even a plastic tray of nachos. Nada! A frugal effort to say the least. We slipped and slid to the field on the untreated walks. We got to the game and I had a purse with my camera. NOPE, even if it were empty, it could not enter the stadium.
Had to be see through plastic or a 4.5 x 6″ clutch. YIKES. We walked half way back to the car and Steve put in in the V of a tree in the park. It was to far to walk all the way back. It was leather and I carry my camera in it and couldn’t just pitch it in the giant dumpster provided for such bags. I don’t go to football games and didn’t realize the restrictions on bags. PNC Park never banned my camera/purse.
On to the snow (the very wet snow) and the cold and the damp and the loss. Yep. The loss.
A high scoring, exciting game, though. And disappointing.
We left before we could see the dismal end, the “almost greatest play ever” they said on the radio as we scraped the windshield and warmed up the car. Came home for soup and tea and a hot shower and I was STILL cold! But we had fun as best we could given the circumstances ie. weather.
Thanks random Steelers fan for photographing us! Nice.
Can you see Fort Pitt Bridge arch on the right? The city skyline was totally obliterated by fog and snow when we first arrived. If you stare you can see ghosts of the buildings.
Snow on the drums
Snow on Condiments
TV camera crew in the snow (taken with the iPhone)
Santa on his cell phone.
Discarded Terrible Towel. Sacrilege! (Sorry to post this photo, Myron- RIP)
What the city looked like later
Serious Tailgaters Equipment
More serious tailgaters personal equipment in a pick-up
The tree holding my purse until after the game when we retrieved it.
Pittsburgh Steel Man , Yoda and Bandito let me take their picture
I’d gotten home from school, opened the door, put my school bag down. When I went back to close the door, there was this face- asking. Asking to eat! This is one of the two feral cats who were my neighbor’s kittens, one of the two we were able to capture and release after having them neutered and given a rabies shot at Animal Rescue League– four years ago now.
Remember my neighbor Ann P. had a clutter, clowder, pounce of cats. I had to look that up as I was thinking “colony” not herd or gaggle. (click here to see what other animal groups are named under collectives.) Ann P (90+) passed away and we were able to get two of the four young cats taken care of and those two are still coming around. Don’t know what happened to the other two.
This one has a particularly expressive face. (iPhone shot) I call it Long Tail. The other one has no tail and I call it Bunny Boy but granddaughter Anna calls him Bob which works as he was born without a tail.
and of course, returned to the park. It’s just blocks from my house. And the light was low, the visibility poor. A stark and magnificent beauty in the midst of the storm.
What were the trees doing today? One day winter, one day Spring, one day freezing and dark, one day a warm sun but a chill in the wind. I wanted to see the branches outlined in snow. The dark branches highlighted with the new fallen snow. Actually, falling snow.
I was rewarded with a stunning winter scene, just before dusk.
It had started to snow while I was at school. The sky heavy and gray. Big big flakes. Melting on the street as it was 38 degrees. I drove home in a snow globe.
Oh yes, today I got out of the car, scared off a squirrel and photographed the snowy park bench and my favorite tree. The sounds muffled by the new snow, barely sticking to the road but highlighting the curved lines.
these are unretouched color photographs
Two roads diverged….
Home to tea. Homemade spaghetti and cheese, steamed broccoli. Leftover fortune cookie and a mandarin orange. Winter.
White snow on white fur. Too bright, the reflected light. But what looks like just a pile of snow is some white fake fur puddled on the sidewalk as I got out of the car to go into school Monday morning.
Took the eighth grade on a Field Trip to the Carnegie Museum of Art to view the Tennie Harris,Photographer: American Story show. We had a wonderful day. Here’s the view from the passenger seat. (note the sidewalk on the right is stairs!) You can see the stop sign at the bottom of the hill. And the reflection of the school bus in the right side mirror. Shot through glass on a snowy day.
Someone left the chairs out in the snow. Today the sun came out. I photographed these a couple of weeks ago and they just looked uninteresting to me. So not the whole chair, just a part. It was the shadows that attracted me today.
This morning I saw my first sundog*.
I was unable to photograph it properly.
It was a stunning sunrise from the Birmingham Bridge.
I didn’t even know what a sundog was until Joanne
sent me a photo of one.
It was clear and cold, blue sky and a magnificent sun.
It is amazing how you can feel when it is light.
The view of the sundog from the school parking lot seemed less dramatic.
I was trying to show our librarian. Definition below.
*from good old wikipedia
A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, from Greek parēlion, (παρήλιον), παρά(beside) + ήλιος(sun), “beside the sun”; also called a mock sun or a phantom sun) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.
Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, and in ice halos. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.
Shooting a color photo that looks black and white is fun. These pods looked chilly and the sounds of the water splashing gave a shiver right under my wool coat and scarf.
Ever watch kids play in fountains
in the summer months?
Not the day I shot this photograph/
and I doubt kids play in these
or if they do, I’m sure not for long.
Vigilant museum guards would
come out and put a halt to any splashing
Check out Keep or Pitch and vote today!