Published on: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Arts & Humanities

Sidewalk Poetry Contest Winners Announced

After receiving more than 150 entries, the winners of the Takoma Park Sidewalk Poetry Contest have been selected, including 10 children and 10 adults ranging from 6 years old to seniors. The winners will receive a $100 award and a chance to have their original poems stamped into a local sidewalk in the contest organized by the City of Takoma Park’s Arts and Humanities Division.

“We were impressed by the diverse breadth of poetry displaying the creativity, intellect, and whimsy of so many Takoma Park residents,” Arts and Humanities Coordinator Brendan Smith said. “This is a fun public art project which brings poetry to the streets and under people’s feet. We hope the poems will provide a laugh or a moment of reflection as people walk around town.”

Local residents could submit one or two poems in English or Spanish. The selection committee included Takoma Park Poet Laureate Kathleen O’Toole and local poets Bernardine Watson and Vladimir Monge.

Seven poems have been stamped so far and more poems will be stamped in the spring of 2022 when sidewalk work begins again.

A new online map provides a looping 4.2-mile walking or biking route which connects the seven sidewalk poems located across Takoma Park.

Child/Teen Winners

Ari Bernstein -10 years old

From the sky to the earth

and the nature in between

you can see the beauty

in which it is woven

and the space you may weave


Sofia Dalanda Crandall -14 years old

Poetry is not a chair

Until you eat it

From a freshly shined plate

In a rickety old bus

On a blanket of snow


Edwige Ghembesalu -16 years old

sunshine honeydew

drip drops from the sky

and we shimmy in the rain

by the creek and on the bridge

slippin cause we mean to


Graham Gould -8 years old

Joy is what I feel within

It burns right through my thin tan skin

Those I love I share my gift

You just need a hopeful lift


Hector Herrera -6 years old

People love

people hug

the love is strong from above


Ash Hewchuck -15 years old 

Song of moon, I take your hand

In dusk of sweet July night

Dappled thoughts and silver emotions

We’ll dance until first light


Nala Miller -7 years old

Little green ball in the tree

Bouncing and rolling free

Off the branch in the grass

Down the hill that’s all we see.


Maeve Monahan -11 years old


Instead of a park

It’s more like a sea

Flowing from every

Green leafy tree


Ida Shaeffer-Allen -9 years old

Carving out rock

Cutting through land

Soft tender touch

Transforms more than seen.


Aissatou Thiam -7 years old

Six Legs

Tiny Ants

Don’t crawl up my pants!


Adult Winners

Sally Brucker

So here is the thing

not getting any younger


still budding


Chris Carson

If I had my way,

love and money would grow

All over the ground,

Like wild strawberries.


Colleen Cordes

Late light shines

through dusk dark pines.

Everywhere silence,

everywhere song.

Sing, silence, sing.


David Alberto Fernandez

(Spanish poem with English translation)

Las palabras que importan

no se imprimen,

ni están talladas o estampadas

Arden en nuestros corazones


The words that matter

are not printed,

carved or stamped

They blaze in our hearts


Rosemary Ferreira

If there is one thing I hold constant,

it is that I belong to this city

as much as it belongs to me.


Veronica Jackson

What will you have today?

I would like tomorrow

Ok that will cost you a day

Just give me yesterday

Sorry no refunds


Emily Kombe

You call it nappy,

I call it being able to breathe

for the first time

through my curls


Samantha Magrath

my footsteps sound

on hard surfaces

crisp and regular as a dealer

laying down card after card

on the city’s table


Maja Tokic

long ago

they walked this road

cold wind chilling their bones

over the ground hard as stone

long ago


Richard Weil

Know, that a valley,

Is a mountain resting