• Edmand Park Poetry
  • Edmand Park Poetry
  • Edmand Park Poetry
  • Edmand Park Poetry

The Poetry Project at Edmands Park consists of contemporary nature poems by living poets scattered throughout the park. The project was conceived and executed by Grey Held, a Newton resident and poet. Held worked with Wendy Drexler of Belmont to develop a contest and selection process for the poems. Almost 200 poems were submitted by poets throughout the United States. Newton poet Wendy Mnookin selected 14 winning poems for installation in the park. The poems are affixed to the stones using a dry-transfer method resulting in a natural, nonintrusive presentation.

Barbara Helfgott Hyett; Chestnut Hill, MA F
Bill Brown; Greenbrier, TN I
Catherine Strisik; San Cristobal, NM J
Clara Silverstein; Auburndale, MA C
Diane Croft; West Roxbury, MA A
Elizabeth McLagan; Portland, OR B
Emily Ferrara; Worcester, MA K
Francis Lunney; Salem, MA L
Joan A. W Kimball; Concord, MA N
Maxine Silverman; Nyack, NY E
Sarah Sousa; Ashfield, MA D
Richard Waring; Arlington, MA H
Wally Swist; Amherst, MA M
Wandajune Bishop-Towle; Andover, MA G

Edmands Park Poetry map

Poetry (Alphabetical by Author)

Moonrise at Cabot Woods

Against blue sky, the polished
arms of oaks catch day’s
last gold minutes. Winter-pale,
a half moon, already risen, waits.
These woods go back, as is
their nature, to a wild order,
pattern branching from memory.
The old rink brims with broken
grasses, unskatable.

-Wandajune Bishop-Towle

The Names of Creeksfor James Still

Today the rounds of hay sit quietly in their fields.
A light frost melts from their tops, steams the air
like loaves of fresh bread on someone’s porch.
The hills, like the heads of children sleeping,
are scruffed with hardwoods. They tangle
with huckleberry, like my morning heart,
not easy to sort through, pathless and mum.
Accept whatever comes, a great poet said. I want
to invert that thought: come to whatever accepts,
but the words don’t make the right sense exactly.
Today sense nestles in the names of creeks:
Dry Fork, Crippled, Troublesome, New Hope.

-Bill Brown


Somewhere when I was young
in the valley of birdsong, a thrush
called me by name an order
from his tongue to my heart.
Somewhere when I was young
a whirling dervish of crackled leaves
circled my hurried feet, I stood
at the center of a spiral galaxy.
Somewhere when I was young
a persistent moon followed me home
bent down low to kiss me,
glowed, she glowed.
Somewhere when I was young
a wild ibex with curved-back horns
paused to take in my essence — but
I moved too quickly and he was gone.

-Diane Crof


Whether pine ’s whoosh
or aspen ’s quake, I am
rapt, enthralled, bereft
struck-awed, the all
and none, the no and
yes, the shirring hiss
this strange abyss
this life aloft the breath
of trees—susurrus!

-Emily Ferrara

The Pond at Cabot Woods

If this morning would slip softly,
starlings in their iridescence, the grub
in its clinging, the irises gone by
in that shush, geese might come to
stand beside me. Ungoosably, one
might lay her blazoned head on my lap,
proof of a kindly nature, and sun
would insinuate itself into the leather
laces of my shoes, the pond water
bounding in the narrowest of
wavelets whatever is detached
is welcome here. The males in their
brown abstraction, the hours as steady
as dust, and the preening gosling
who swims, so graceful on her own.

-Barbara Helfgott Hyett

Cold October

Cold October made four hairy bees
Soporifically lie at their ease,
Each apparently dead
On a thistle-stem head,
Until warmed in the sun by degrees.

-Joan A. W. Kimball

Catching Native Trout — for Warren Lillie

I caught a dozen brook trout from the cold
stretch of stream that runs beside the orchard trees.
With each cast, they surfaced to feed
on crickets from our damp cellar. For weeks,
I hooked only dull hatchery fish. Their eyes
were gray and lifeless, mouths searching for water
as I tried to release them. Then these native fish!
Light spots of orange and yellow speckled
their tiger-striped backs, and their blue sides
shimmered almost purple in late afternoon light.
I waded out farther, farther. Here they were,
deep in the current, those fluttering hearts!

-Francis Lunney

All Alien Spirits Rest the Spirit

There are rocks that have forgotten the body:
orphaned, smoothed by their journey, tossed up
at random and left to dry in the sun. The river
retreats into its own life beyond the marsh
where deer graze by the secret ponds of geese.
Hard midday light on the surface of water,
the sky drawn back into blue distance: I want
to lie like a cloud on the river, like nothing,
like the milk of nothing. To be troubled by boats
and the footprints of birds. I’ll be the ripple
the stone falls through. And if a gust of wind
rearranges the leaves and the shadows of leaves
where the air of the dead is transposed — just
passing, just passing through. Where is it
snowing? What is that cloud in the shape
of a mouth, trying to speak? Gray afternoon
without you, working the lung’s white tree, the one
the leaves cover, the one leaves lay bare.

– Elizabeth McLagan

Life List

Driving home along a woodsy stretch,
the darker silhouettes of pine
and shrub against the dark sky,
our young son wonders who
lives in the woods.
“Maybe a fox,” his brother suggests.
I offer, “a deer.”
“Maybe a lion,” he guesses.
“Maybe an owl,” says his dad,
an old hand at birds.
“We don’t really know.”
And for miles down the road
my baby croons,
“We don’t really know
We don’t really know”
to the woman and man who’ve sworn
no harm will come
to him to him.

– Maxine Silverman


yellow yolk of sun
pricked by leafless maple crown
pops in morning sky

-Clara Silverstein

Learning My Name

The snow is pitted where an animal
stepped into its own shadow.
Summer ’s rampant knotweed has diminished
to a line of thin calligraphy — frail girls
bent by wind. Evening sun
colors them red. In the field,
sharp prints circle a tree where one
deer ate the bark —
came this close,
turned back
without learning my name.

– Sarah Sousa


I am breaking in mid-body between paths.
Where magpie racket ricochets from breastbone
to branch with dusk’s low hum. Molt violet.
Molt rainbow. Untwisting my own
sight from the green of this world turning
my morning eyes, my mourning eyes into
the dark-feathered bird. Murk and mudscent,
my caw shadowed and thinning.

– Catherine Strisik

Wild Falling

Eyes frozen in headlights for
only a moment, the herd
of deer traverses the road
in this first winter blizzard
with such prudence they quiet
the wild falling. One after
another, they spring to clear
the ice-sheathed barbed wire hurdle,
that quivers from time to time
when one of their hooves grazes
against it. They bound into
the meadow, filling with white
fire, an icy afterglow
burnishing their tracks, which cross
and recross themselves, while wisps
of cloud wash over the moon.

– Wally Swist

In Tall Grass

Over and over, the grasses part
for winds that will never give up
swelling, cresting, receding back
on themselves, wrapping around us.
We are glittering like the metallic green
of a tiger beetle, unhinged for flight,
alive in a field where so much
awaits, the mossy sorrows,
the grasshopping surprises. We fall
in love with all that is not
ours, this particular firefly,
that determined stalk of yarrow.
Leaving the woods is a sadness,
returning home a vague diminishment,
that we are father and son and not
some wild things in the night.

-Richard Waring