the first key west sidewalk poem and a little history



In April 2014, in honor of National Poetry Month, The City of Key West and Key West Art in Public Places unveiled the first “sidewalk poem” in front of Captain Tony’s Saloon on Greene Street, a Hemingway haunt. The untitled piece is by Kirby Congdon, Key West Poet Laureate 2013. Mr. Congdon’s work, and the work of sixteen other talented poets, were chosen from over 200 submissions to settle into the sidewalks of Key West. The original plan was to place the poems by the stamp-on-wet-concrete method, but as the edges of words began to crumble, the city began engraving the work (paid for by private donations). A complicated timeline ensued and all 17 poems have yet to be installed. I’ve found 9. They are marvelous and underappreciated and here is the first:


I walk on sand

and leave a trail

of footprints,

hard and deep.

The wash of waves

fills my step

in hasty cascades.

Water and sand return,

not quite the same;

the tide, its oceans,

the earth itself

are changed. – Kirby Congdon


additional information on poetry in key west, a good read



last night as I was sleeping / antonio machado


for Julie and Gloria, in English and in Spanish, and for National Poetry Month. Read poetry, write poetry, post poetry!

from spanish poet, antonio machado, 1875 – 1939



Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.


Anoche Cuando Dormía

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
que una fontana fluía
dentro de mi corazón.
Dí: ¿por qué acequia escondida,
agua, vienes hasta mí,
manantial de nueva vida
en donde nunca bebí?

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
que una colmena tenía
dentro de mi corazón;
y las doradas abejas
iban fabricando en él,
con las amarguras viejas,
blanca cera y dulce miel.

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
que un ardiente sol lucía
dentro de mi corazón.
Era ardiente porque daba
calores de rojo hogar,
y era sol porque alumbraba
y porque hacía llorar.

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
que era Dios lo que tenía
dentro de mi corazón.


art work: melani pyke


Although I’m not limiting myself to American poets, read about the celebration:

Read this! National Poetry Month!

And on Antonio Machado