“Rain Poetry: A Walk in the Woo 2023” Winners Announced:
The Worcester County Poetry Association is pleased to announce the 2023 Rain Poets and their poems! These poems will be painted on Worcester’s sidewalks using a paint that is only visible when wet Friday-Sunday, September 15th – 17th, 2023.
2023 Rain Poets, in no particular order
Evan Plante with “Staying Power”
Gertrude Malesi with “[Hatua za Wwenyeji]” (Swahili for “A gait that belongs”)
Jan Davini with “[The city beats in my heart]”
Aidan Brueckner with “Phantom Limb Syndrome”
Mark Wagner with “Flying Out of Worcester”
Laura DiCaronimo with “Hot Drops”
Chloe Mascitelli with “[The world feels lightest in Worcester]”
John Zywar with “Indian Lake”
Daniel Gregoire with “Worcester Time”
Lisa Knight with “Rain Magic”
Paul Szlosek with “[When Worcester was Worchester]”
David Ginsburg with “Forever Worcester”
Emily Haley with “History”
2023 Rain Poetry Honorable Mentions
John Zywar with “Interlude”
David Ginsburg with “Footsteps”
“A Walk in the Woo 2023” Announcing Selected Poets and Honorable Mentions
Sponsored by Bay State Bank & Cornerstone Bank
Rain Poetry: A Walk in the Woo 2023
Poems for Rain.Works
The Worcester County Poetry Association is pleased to announce the thirteen poems selected from their 2023 Call for Poems: “A Walk in the Woo” and our six honorable mentions.
Location: Belmont Hill/ Green Park Bus Stop
Poet: Evan Plante
Title: Staying Power
Being born somewhere is not nothing
But staying is everything.
Bishop left Worcester for Brazil
Olson for Gloucester
Kunitz for Provincetown
But I stayed home to write this poem.
Now, they were notable. I am not.
But I’m a denizen…
Which also is not nothing.
Location: Crompton Collective, Corner of Endicott and Harding
Poet: Gertrude Malesi
Title: (Swahili) Hatua za Mwenyeji
Hatua za upendo zadekeza mpendwa WOO
Bikira aliye fichwa vilimani saba
Yake ni kilele na mafanikio
Lakini mwenyeji natembea nimesongwa
Chini ya madaraja wametulia
Wanakula makombo ya baridi kali
Josho na vijoto vyawaramba
Pengine Masika yataosha shida zao
wa mavuno wakusanyika wamelemewa.
Title: (English) A Gait That Belongs
A gait that belongs.
Caresses beloved WOO’s warmth stride
Maidenly veiled in seven hills.
Hers is peaks of enormity.
But I stride crushed.
Wondering as they creep.
Masticating the frost leftovers
Sticky sweats identify them.
Downpours decontaminate their fight.
Falling gathers to concede.
Damp purify them.
Location: Main St., University Park Bus Stop (Main St. and Crystal St. Bus Stop)
Poet: Jan Davini
The city beats in my heart from a
distance of time and place.
I close my eyes to feel its rhythm,
to hear its symphony of people,
to smell the food of those here
Worcester’s heart encompasses
mine, forever my home.
Location: Newton Square Park Bus Stop (Pleasant St. and Coolidge Rd.)
Poet: Aidan Brueckner
Title: Phantom Limb Syndrome
Whistling alleys rise
to slanted nomad meet
Where dust devils stagger
plastered, hounding his wake
Wrought from memories bittersweet
and borne on scouring headwinds
exhaled by the fringe tree
which blooms at the crossroads
sighing its fragrant greetings
If only they could be bottled
If only you would take them
Location: Girls Inc (Providence and Spurr St)
Poet: Laura DiCaronimo
Title: Hot Drops
The street outside my office is a sauna:
free spa treatments en route to my car!
Pores cleared with sweat, hair curled:
gently pulled from the restraints of my
The click of high heels is dulled through puddles
but I am finally heading home.
Location: Coes Park (Mill St. and Ball St. Bus Stop)
Poet: Chloe Mascitelli
The world feels lightest in Worcester
Everything comes to life
The people feel it too
You can see it in the way they smile.
When I tell the sun world
“Worcester is akin to paradise”
I am judged
But I don’t care
Anyone who’s been here knows the truth.
Location: YMCA, Shore Dr. Bus Stop
Poet: John Zywar
Title: Indian Lake
sun beats down
on Indian Lake
Runners joggers walkers
assemble from buildings
of tired red brick
break from toil’s day
Stride for stride
side by side
Away from chairs
Location: City Hall Bus Stop
Poet: Daniel Gregoire
Title: Worcester Time
Time is something,
Measured by clocks,
It has no reality;
Time is soft,
So we bend it,
Grind it down and test it,
Paint it yellow,
Put a smiley face on it,
One grain at a time.
So, why am I running
Location: Cristoforo Colombo Park Bus Stop
Poet: Lisa Knight
Title: Rain Magic
Rain soaks the Woo
But if you scrunch up, head down,
You miss its magic!
Rain will renew, relieve, refresh…
It tells secrets
And dreams up rainbows.
Location: Lincoln St at McDonalds Bus Stop
Poet: Paul Szlosek
When Worcester was “Worchester”,
We withstood whirling
& wintery windstorms.
When Worcester was “Wormtown”,
We were wild & weird,
Waddling while we walked.
When Worcester was “Woo”,
We were woke & wacky,
When Worcester was “Worcester”,
We were who & where we were:
We were Worcester!
Location: Grafton St. Elementary (Grafton St. and Fay St. Bus Stop)
Poet: David Ginsburg
Title: Forever Worcester
Those kids at the bus stop are grown now
Remember when that was Edie’s house?
All the dogs too
We walk a little slower but we walk every day
Observing the rhythms of the neighborhood
Every step on these streets
Is an imprint for eternity
Location: Park Ave. and Highland St. Bus Stop
Poet: Emily Haley
Sitting on a bench, I look around.
The wrought iron pulls my gaze.
Instantly I see winter.
Bundled in my snowsuit as a child,
Running, playing, and wanting to stay.
Only my muddled footprints were left
to freeze, crack, and eventually melt
on the top of Elm Park bridge.
Location: Broadmeadow Brook Bus Stop
Poet: Mark Wagner
Title: Flying Out of Worcester
One could say the sky is atoms
Then how do we explain the darkness?
The physical world is fog of the breath
Of the immaculate heart
In a burst of song.
Rain Poetry: A Walk in the Woo 2022 Honorable Mentions
Poet: John Zywar
Sound of feet
on paved concrete
Some walk alone
lost in a thought
a single tone
in ragged packs
move past the Y
As time contends
all must surely
find their tribe
Poet: David Ginsburg
Every step is a year
Thousands of miles
Hundreds of seasons
Countless faces too
So many dogs!
The neighborhood is a constant
But the elements are volatile
Enjoy this walk, this moment, this day
YOU, reading this right now
This is your city.
What will you do with it?
Rain Poets from “A Walk in the Woo 2021”
#1 – City Hall Bus Stop, Main Street
When it rains,
the ancestral footprints
are almost visible
like wet shadows,
Up from dirt paths and
new, smooth concrete.
Barely the bare feet
and memories of moccasins.
Faint echoes of those who
and made noise.
#2 – Printer’s Building
We are all like drops carried by the wind,
From waters near and far –
Raining and flowing down Plantation Street,
And somewhere along we will share our stories,
Labor and love,
And be drops again of
Dew on hydrangeas,
Or mist on apples.
#3 – University Park Bench
Downtown diners steam,
An engine revs to life.
Sirens bloom and fade.
Morning, and Worcester
is on the move.
#4 – Coes Pond Park Bus Stop
Rain anoints this slab of concrete.
In winter, chunks of frozen snow
Will skitter across its surface
Propelled by unwitting feet.
Now you’re standing here
Waiting for a bus, barely noticing
The sidewalk if you weren’t
Unexpectedly reading this poem—
Ah, the miracles of poetry!
#5- Newton Square Bus Stop at Intervale St.
the city wraps me in its pavement for a gravelly embrace
like a doting parent, she doesn’t seem to mind the drinks,
the blood, the tears, the secrets I’ve been
careless to spill onto her gorgeous obsidian gown
#6 – Cristoforo Columbus Park Bus Stop
Oh the centuries of footsteps
every memory, every deed.
The immigrants in search of home,
the patriots who bleed.
Worcester with its walkways
from Dewey Street to Main…
our history comes to life
with the reigning of the rain.
#7 – Lake Park Bus Stop
To the city of seven hills
The heart of where culture spills
From universities to brick mills
Hard working city that pays the bills
And loving people with no ill wills.
#8 Bell Pond bus Stop
My contributions are too heavy for me to carry
So let me gently rest them at our feet
Because if I am part of the whole
I can touch everything
And we have more ground to stand on
#9 Tacoma Street bus Stop
Cuando era nino…
These hills were so massive, intimidante.
Cuando era hombre…
These hills stored my memories, buenos y malos.
Cuando era padre…
These hills taught me patience, la edad viril y de confianza.
Y cuando me voy…
Yo quiero morir aqui, en mi Pueblo.
#10 – Broad Meadow Brook Bus Stop
On my street
no one chops
wood against the frost.
No one taps
maple trees for sap.
On my street
trees give music.
tumble from the leaves.
We do not see
#11 Friendly House
Jamaican born and bred
Fleeing a hate crime
To Worcester I fled
Pride flag waving my first memory
Then I knew this seven hills Massachusetts city welcomed me
Cold and frigid in winter
But the citizens heart are warm summer
Years later I’m a proud citizen of Wuzsta
#12 – Girl’s Inc. Bus Stop
when the dish cracks
pieces held in hand
crumbs fall between
three pieces held
in her hands
she hears her friend
say life too short
to fret broken
#13 – Crompton Park, Corner of Canton St.
Mark A. Thomas aka Mumblez
speak freely, speak openly,
speak calmly, respectfully
speak mindful, speak true,
speak for me and for you,
speak to what we know, and consider what don’t
speak for unsung heroes, the young,
the new and the old
speak now open and awake
This place is full of ideas.
Showing its true colors
Building bridges on brick walls.
Building on itself.
Zoey Ailm Al-aHyaa’
Mudarris Freddo Tsunami
(Teacher a Cold Tsunami)
Afternoon is to prepare
a long visit for nightfall.
My neighbor, she will visit;
My friend, she will dance;
My teacher, she will sing;
The acquaintance, she will play.
You and I will dress the part
to welcome them all back to
Mark A. Thomas aka
message in a puddle
rain creates rhythmic sound mind body air comes down movement healing
no longer concealing the word droplets on the ground know your worth
you are profound.
Welcome to Tatnuck
Tatnuck: a name in Nipmuc language,
an old stump still sprouting shoots,
though Englishman’s Foot proliferates
all over Pleasant Street lawns.
Hostas mingle with hydrangeas,
Japanese maples with Acer saccharum,
and coneflower offers its healing hand
from the earth to each generation
Frances LaMar Brzezicki
Walk In The Woo
Rainy and gray
Connect with our city in
Stroll, strut, sing, shine
That is your choice.
Everyone is welcome
Residents here have a voice!
The sharks in suits,
Swim down Main Street.
While she sits sadly,
Beneath the bridge on Green.
Homeless as a cold,
Coney Island hotdog
without a bun.
She hobbles to my car,
And I hand her a blanket.
“They stole my cane,”
Dan Lewis (deceased)
ice on quick
of Sandburg or
hurries across the small
cove then stops,
angles off to the left,
searching for dry
landfall, sniffs air and
darts finally into
the brush, leaving
no mark on landscape
Planned Poem Locations
- City Hall Bus Stop, Main Street
- Printer’s Building entrance
- University Park Bench on Main Street
- Coes Pond Park Bus Stop
- Newton Square Bus Stop at Intervale
- Cristoforo Columbus Park Bus Stop
- Lake Park Bus Stop
- Bell Pond Bus Stop
- Tacoma Street Bus Stop
- Broad Meadow Brook Bus Stop, Massasoit Road
- Friendly House
- Girl’s Inc. Bus Stop
- Crompton Park – corner of Canton Street
Judging team: Elizabeth Bacon, Coordinator of Clemente Course in the Humanities; Katherine Gregiore, WCPA Board Member; Juan Matos, Poet Laureate, City of Worcester; Walter Molina, Clemente Alumnus
Other members of the committee: Rodger Martin, President, WCPA; Karen Sharpe, Development, WPI