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 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.


16 responses


Too deep for me.

February 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Edit


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



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


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


joseph k

that is one great photo


February 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm Edit


Bonnie Imhoff

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



Meet the Man Who Made Copies of the Film Quart Jar Poet

Imagine Audio Media President

Meet Dino Pandolfo who graciously consented to be part of my People at Work Series. He has a full recording studio and can create multiple copies of DVDs and CDs(see below) right here in Ingram a West End neighborhood in Pittsburgh.


The Quart Jar Poet: Dorothy Holley is a film I made  in 2005. Dorothy was a good friend to me- an encourager. Dorothy Holley-Poet, Friend


Dino created the copies to be used as a fundraiser for  Madwomen in the Attic-he was a pleasure to work with and they look wonderful. He even carted the boxes to my car.
The Madwomen Reading series presents the second annual Dorothy Louise Holley Memorial Reading featuring a poetry reading by Diane Gilliam

Saturday, November 12, 2016
Kresge Center, Carlow University
Reading at 7:30 p.m. (book table at 7 p.m.)
Reception and book signing following the reading
Free and open to the public
Free parking

Historic South Side Presbyterian Hosted Poetry Reading

What is so rare as a day in June?

Friday June 10th


Poets Mike James, Roberta Hatcher and Timons Esaias

IMG_0257Book signing after the reading

Note:  Roberta Hatcher’s book cover of French Lessons is shown in postcard form above- Watch for information about upcoming Book Release Party  Finishing Line Press

Mike James drove up from Chapel Hill to read and he has a new book, Peddler’s Blues forthcoming (August) preorder at Main Street Rag Press

Timons Esaias    2015 Louis Award winner  On Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, get your autographed copy of the book directly from Timons at In Your Write Mind, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. or click his name to buy from Amazon link. Published by Concrete Wolf

IMG_0268Poets  Michael Wurster mentor, poet, teacher, Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange founder,  (front right)


Michael Wurster and host Pastor Kathy Hamilton-Vargo


Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.38.23 PM.pngThe Poetry Reading was Sponsored by The Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange and hosted by South Side Presbyterian Church.


The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting


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.

Typewriter Poet at the Wedding

The typewriter is a 1941 model.

The typewriter poet, Dylan Laine, creates a custom poem for the bride and groom in 5 minutes or less.

The poems were hung on a rose laden trellis that will be incorporated in a book for Josh and Sara.

I just thought it was the coolest thing I’ve seen at a wedding lately…. so I asked her if it would be okay to blog her and she agreed.  Thanks Typewriter Poet.






Here Dylan Laine, Typewriter Poet, jots down a few words to create the poem for the bride and groom.




The typewriter poet explains how it works. IMG_9297




The custom poem she created with my words.






Fellow Blogger’s Comment Spurs Action

It was Janet of Sustainabilitea blog, ( This,that and the other  thing/ Looking at life through writing and photography) who wrote in a comment  “these photos would make great puzzles”.

She was right.  Thanks, Janet, for the super idea.  (original post of the doll collection was just January 6th).

I went down the hill to give my friend the early birthday present and it was a cool surprise. Waiting until the actual birthday on the 29th was too long.  Barb was really thrilled with the origianl idea and I told her how a fellow blogger suggested making the photo into a puzzle.  Her husband thought the photo below would make a cool document of the idea come to fruition.

Here my friend Barb’s  husband Rich holds up the puzzle I ordered from the photo of her doll collection.

It came in a lovely tin. Ravensburger USA in New Hampshire did a super job.

How much fun it would be to photograph collections to be made into jigsaw puzzles.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

The example posted by Cheri Lucas Rowlands was a Northern California foggy dawn.

A sunrise – a perfect beginning.

A baby, just born.

The first page of the dictionary.

The first page of the new calendar.

Once you start, more come to mind.

Beginning= possibility?  A new start.

I did not search the archives for beginnings but put the iPhone to use at breakfast-

My Saturday morning.

Here’s the beginning –

Coffee and English Muffin

The special English muffins a surprise in the Christmas mail from Ben and Susan, thanks

A New Page

A newly sharpened pencil ready to begin……

a journal entry, a letter, a poem, a novel, a list-

A single match

Begin with a single match…………..

Middle CMiddle C- “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start….” “When you sing you begin with Do Re Mi”

Yarn BowlThe beginning of a ball of yarn in my new yarn bowl 🙂

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