By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them

First posted in February 2010 and again in 2013.  Thanks Timons Esaias Guest Poet

Sidewalk Shoveled

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

is destiny.

-Timons Esaias
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.

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16 responses

Bill

Too deep for me.

February 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Edit

Reply

Toni Kichi

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

Reply

Dorothy

All tis is great Ruth. It is like your photos and words are a diary of living through these snowy days.

Dorothy

February 19, 2010 at 9:12 am Edit

Reply

erica

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

Reply

Arlene Weiner

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

Reply

joseph k

that is one great photo

joseph

February 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm Edit

Reply

Bonnie Imhoff

I know the snow is a pain, but it is beautiful. I enjoy the pic very much.

POST NAVIGATION

7 THOUGHTS ON “BY THEIR SIDEWALKS YOU WILL KNOW THEM – GUEST POET TIMONS ESAIAS- ORIGINALLY POSTED 2-19-2010”

The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting

knitsocks

A Handknit Sock

There’s a math to it. The cast on. Count
the multiples of four.
Last year it was hats and cowls.
This year, socks.
I want to try the fish lips kiss heel.

It’s a simple thing. How a sock is knit.
You start with yarn.
Needles as slim as toothpicks.
Terms like toe and gusset and cuff.
My friend says, "it’s too much work."

There’s a rhythm in the repetition.
The making. Clockwise circles.
Some throw, some pick.
Row after row after row.
In time you get length and warmth.

There’s the calm you long for,
around and around and around.
Turn heel for a path to Zen.
You think of those you love.
The grandmother who taught you.

The wet squeezed out,
pairs hang to dry. Later fold
their softness, admire the colors,
ignore imperfections.
Find comfort, hidden in shoes.
My squishy hand knit socks.

Poem in Your Pocket Day – April 30th

My sister wrote to remind me that April 30th (tomorrow) is Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Don’t have a poem?

You can download one from the American Academy of Poets site right here

When I taught in a K-8 school, I had a basket of poems for the office counter with a sign, TAKE ONE.

I read a poem a day over the PA for the K-2 morning announcements for the month of April, National Poetry Month.

Sometimes the poem taker would put back the poem they selected in search of one that spoke to them.

Tonight I printed out The Pasture by Robert Frost. Put it in my denim blazer pocket.

When I was in the third grade (1960) I had to memorize and recite it at the end of the year “stepping up” ceremony.

Mary is going to have one of our mother’s favorite- Walt Whitman’s Elegy- When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed

What poem will you have in your pocket to read and share?

poem

 

 

 

 

Vincent, Euthemia, Dorothy, Liane and Montclair Came to Mind Today

iris blooming

October 29th,  Wednesday Afternoon

Funny how the unexpected sight of something triggers a stream of consciousness.

The word Iris, the sight of these Iris blooming made me think of many things.

In Highland Park after school today, while waiting for a poet to arrive to shoot the author photo for her new book cover,

I saw these Iris.

I always think of Iris as the“end of the school year” flower but now I see they bloom in late October, too.

Vincent Van Gogh painted them.

Euthemia is always planting, growing, showing and readying Iris for her Capital Hudson Iris Society show and sale

Liane Ellison Norman wrote a poem, ” I Dug Up the Iris”  about our friend Dorothy’s Iris.

When I was young, we lived in Montclair New Jersey and walked in the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens named after the founder of the American Iris Society.

Iris.

So many memories triggered by the sight of their blooming today.

October Iris

My Conversation With God – Guest Blog

 

My conversation with God 7/13/13

I don’t want to talk about the Treyvon Benjamin Martin story

Because it’s been told before        because I know how it ends

black boy      dead boy        no boy wins.

And you,

you were supposed to be watching

keeping him from harm.

His mother prayed and prayed    and

you said you would       she believed

you could

he was the one in the hood

and you just didn’t.

Maybe you looked away for a second

got distracted,

heard thousands calling your name

so much you couldn’t hear him

couldn’t decipher it from the voices

the noises,

maybe you confused it with a cheer

when the field goal was good,

or a hymn        that was really loud

maybe you didn’t like what he had to say

all young and un-educated like.

but really,

how long would it have taken,

how long did it take

for you to call

for him to leave,

join you,

be rewarded

such a short time

in your care.

Was it just too dark that night?  Was he just too dark that night?

They say he looked like all the others, “all the other punks that get away”.

 

 — a poem by Cj Coleman

Cj teaches in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, is a Western Pennsylvania Writing Project Fellow (U of Pittsburgh) and a member of Madwomen in the Attic (Carlow University)

Cj emailed me this poem and I found this photograph in my archives to accompany her words.

Hoodie Day March 30, 2012
 Hoodie Day March 30, 2012                 Pittsburgh Public Schools

Now YOU are Six, Jack!

Now We Are Six

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be Six now                                                                                                                                                                                

for ever and ever.

-A.A. Milne

 

John Patrick McGrath
Happy Birthday John Patrick (Jack). Here is a poem for you on your special day.
 

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Convex traffic mirror. At the zoo.  Not a monkey.  Self- portrait.

Maybe I got the title after viewing the scary preview of the movie Snow White and the Huntsman which is coming out June first.  No dwarfs to be seen. Definitely not for children.

And then I researched convex mirror and find the Pulitzer Prize winning book Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror and the lengthy title poem of the same name by John Ashberry.

Wikipedia says “Round convex mirrors called Oeil de Sorcière (French for “sorcerer’s eye”) were a popular luxury item from the 15th century onwards, shown in many depictions of interiors from that time.[1] With 15th century technology, it was easier to make a regular curved mirror (from blown glass) than a perfectly flat one.”

And of course they mention the Arnolfini Portrait  by Jan van Eyck which everyone is familiar with but may not know the painting’s title.  See the convex mirror in the details if you click on the Arnolfini Portrait link and scroll to the section Mirror.

Okay, just trying to make a photograph of me a bit interesting to others. Convex mirrors seem interesting to me.

Annual Crayon Peel and “Art Room Ritual” Poem

Soak the broken crayons in warm water and the papers peel right off!

About 5 years ago, my friend Lara  E. framed the poem in the newspaper, adding the crayon paper peelings around it. Last night at my final video class I scanned it and uploaded it to the blog while I waited for the screening to start.  This years crop yielded lots of crayons. The most whole crayons at the end of the year are violet ones.

“By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them” Guest Poet Timons Esaias

Tim's Poem Came to Mind as I Admired the Concrete First Time in Two Weeks

*NOTE to poet(s)   not knowing HTML code I am restricted by the format of this blog template and or the limits of Text/Edit from word.doc to Mac? and the poem will not publish in the original format.   It is a five stanza poem and the breaks occur after   -out.   -Way.  -human. – eternal. Hence the hyphens for space and breath.

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

is destiny.

Timons Esaias


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 5AMBathtub GinMain Street RagWillard & MapleElysian 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.

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