GRIGG'S PARK WILLOWS
by Max Jepsen, during 2nd grade
Grass shimmering like the emeralds of the great emperor
Robins chirping like adults over politics.
Willows weeping a lake of green tears.
The pipe like a great oak fallen to the ground.
Sun rays like the lapping tongue of a loving puppy.
WRITE UNDER WILLOWS
On May 20, 2012, I offered my first family event for Brookline residents: Write Under Willows at Griggs Park. We had a splendid day of mild weather, sun shimmering off the top leaves of a silver birch, a hawk soaring above. We sat spread out on the grass within the circle of nineteen willows and wrote and drew on large foam boards. About 22 people came - ages 6 to 80s. We were buoyed by young students, parents, rising and established writers and artists, neighbors and friends. Quietly, we listened to the layers of sounds: the robins and cardinals, rustlings, children’s calls, construction beyond the fence and the traffic, invisible but part of the park’s sound fabric. We gazed up through the black cherries and the delicate willow strands into blue, our fingers felt down through moist grass toward worms and roots. Some ventured toward the vernal pond where mysterious footprints marked the mud, some sat in the flickering shade, others leaned under the forsythia branches. Using poetry techniques of inviting or instructing the reader, addressing or speaking in the voice of a willow or creature, observing and reflecting, participants wrote and drew what they observed and felt. Near the end of our hour, we gathered and read to each other, and showed our art. It was so sweet to have the adults along with first, second and sixth graders reading and encouraging each other, appreciating the vivid language and vision of each Writer Under Willows.
Judith Steinbergh, Poet Laureate, Brookline
IN THE PICTURE
by Elaine Bakal
A newcomer to this place,
she peers down on
the circular park from her window.
Below her, an expanse
of sparkling white snow
dotted with naked willow trees
hovering around an icy pond.
Like a winter scene by Brueghel ---
dogs romping, barking out
their animal joy,
toddlers clomping in their red boots
Kids on sleds shrieking
and racing down the little hill.
She longs to step into the picture
like that man in Kurosawa’s film
who gazed and gazed
at Van Gogh’s painting
until he glided in,
crossed the bridge
and strode among the haystacks
beneath the azure sky.
Day by day she watches
winter turn to spring ---
a kaleidoscope of colors.
The fiery yellow forsythias
burst forth their beauty first,
then dogwood and magnolia
pop out in pink and white.
She feels it beckoning.
She descends the stairs,
crosses the road and enters
this new world to become
a part of the picture,
to observe up close
the endless variety ---
the golden green
of the willows’ new growth
hanging languidly overhead,
the dark dignity
of the evergreens.
Drawing by Robert Kroin
by Maxine Yalovitz Blankenship
The willow stands tall;
casts shadows on grasses below.
Patterns, shapes change
when the wind
gives the branches their cue.
I see the willow first -
proud mother to the other trees.
Yes, it weeps, as they say
for all who gaze so earnestly,
upward from masses of clover.
Grant us our dreams, willow.
Selfish, it seems, for the multi-chaos
outside this protective circle.
Surrounded by green, upward toward blue -
solace, comfort, faith, love return to us
… dream granted.
by Wendy Swart
Just throw on your sandals and skip out the door...
(being careful not to let the dog out or the screen door slam)
and zip down the path.
Follow the smell of the fresh cut grass
and the flowering trees to the park.
You know the one.
Look for the ring of willow trees,
It is late spring and their wiry limbs have spouted new heads of fine hair.
Each strand makes its own dance
with a single puff of wind.