My Poetry Box

My Poetry Box, Glendale, California, 2020

Last month, we rooted my poetry box firmly in the ground flanked by tall rosemary and Indian hawthorn bushes in my front yard. The box itself is made of oak and it sits on a Coast Live Oak limb donated from Descanso Gardens. Chris Ecker used his carpentry skills to craft the poetry box and mount it onto the limb.

I first became acquainted with poetry boxes when my stepdaughter, Christy Carr, sent me a photo of one she saw on her morning walks in San Diego. She always stopped to read the poems and sent me photos of a few she thought I would like. I loved the idea and thought how nice it would bring one to my Montecito Park neighborhood. And so, it finally all came together.

I’m hoping my neighbors and friends will stop by when walking their dogs or enjoying a nightly COVID stroll in the neighborhood and read the poems I post.

The first poem I displayed was Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken.” Originally published in 1916, in the collection, Mountain Interval, it is one of the most read and remembered poems written by an American poet. There are tomes written about the interpretation and meaning of this poem but I think each reader will take from it what they need.

Poetry uses words, images, metaphors, symbols, sounds, formats and rhythms that communicate feelings or thoughts in a beautiful, and often, unique way. I think we need the beauty of poetry more than ever as we experience isolation and separateness from our lives as we once knew them.

If you have a favorite poem, let me know and I’ll post it. I plan to change the poem every week or so.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as far that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Until next time, stay well and safe.



19 thoughts on “My Poetry Box

  1. What a beautiful idea. The little free library has caught on here. There are several in the neighborhood. Our friends have one and say it’s well used. I hope the lucky people of Bagdad Place enjoy your poetry box as well.

  2. Terrific idea. Nicely executed!
    Marc (with Bev in Hawaii for the time being)

    ps: Always liked Sea Fever by John Masefield (although for me… it might be “… And all I as is a pair of googles and a wave to swim her by..”

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
    And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

  3. Lovely way of sharing grace in action… a very fitting symbol of you Susan! Thanks.
    Carol from Laguna beach

  4. Very left-brained and not much for understanding poetry (except for The Cremation of Sam McGee ) this one always stuck with me.
    ‘Tis The Set of the Sail by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    But to every mind there openeth
    A way, and way, and away,
    A high soul climbs the highway,
    And the low soul gropes the low,
    And in between on the misty flats,
    The rest drift to and fro.
    But to every man there openeth,
    A high way and a low,
    And every mind decideth,
    The way his soul shall go.
    One ship sails East,
    And another West,
    By the self-same winds that blow,
    ‘Tis the set of the sails
    And not the gales,
    That tells the way we go.
    Like the winds of the sea
    Are the waves of time,
    As we journey along through life,
    ‘Tis the set of the soul,
    That determines the goal,
    And not the calm or the strife.

  5. Love this idea–it’s fabulous! What a burst of beauty unto a shaky scene at this time!

    Can’t help thinking…Might the first line be “Two Roads divulged in a yellow wood”…

    I memorized Frost at age 14–many of his poems. I will think on favorites and send you one or two.

    1. You’re so right…..”Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” is the first line and I inadvertently left it out. Good eye. i’ll see if i can correct that on the post.

      Thanks for visiting and your keen eye!!

  6. What a great idea! And I love the poems your friends suggest! I particularly relate to the “Set of the Sea.” I love poems by Harry Youtt — his book “Elderverses.” One poem called “Double Rider”:

    “Look!” the little boy shouts to his mother, pointing his finger and dancing out
    toward the old couple that wobbles by
    on a tandem bike,

    “Double Riders, Mom! Double Riders!”
    And right away the two bicyclers
    like the sound of that a lot.
    Double Riders!

    For once not to be labelled
    “those old folks on that bicycle built for two”
    that makes them feel as if
    they somehow live in the dusty lyrics
    of a very old song.

    But this time: Double Riders! —
    visions of long-tailed canvas dusters,
    silken scarves streaming out behind,
    slouching hats maybe, leather gauntlets.

    Two figures arching forward at the strain,
    exploding out of the setting sun
    on gleaming wheels, pedals cranking,
    bicycle breezing across the sandy-distance landscape
    bent upon one more glorious exploit together!

  7. What a great post. And I love the poems people shared. I am inspired to do this too.
    Thank you for sharing,

  8. Love this idea! I’ve never seen one before, but just like ‘Little Libraries’ that pop up in front yards, it will be a lovely enhancement to your neighborhood and something that brings people together. Kudos to your for getting it done!

  9. What a treat to have the Poetry Box in my neighborhood and learn new poems and be reminded of others !

  10. Dear Susan,

    Greetings from Mariposa Lighthouse, Cambria, CA.

    I have never been a poem reader, but I am encouraged to read some poems especially if I see one in a Poem Box. What a terrific presentation of poetry surrounded with rosemary and hawthorn on a tall sturdy oak crafty anchor!

  11. Your poetry box is a breath of fresh air, Susan. A MUCH NEEDED breath of fresh air.
    I’m so glad there are angels like you making the world a kinder and friendlier place for us all.

  12. Susan, this is such a lovely idea! I am sure your neighbors are enjoying your poem box. I love poetry, but get busy and seem to forget about reading it. Some of my favorite poets are Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. Thanks so much for sharing this poem! Janell

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