Sunday, January 5, 2014


image borrowed from tess kincaid 


“Outside of America, I should hardly be believed if I told
how simply Dover Street merged into Back Bay.”
--Mary Antin. 

There is just something
about cobblestone and brick
streets & sidewalks;

best seen at night,
wet with mist
or other liquids of the darkness,

best photographed
in black & white;
each stone,
each brick
a separate story,
another face,
another number;

like walking on the helmets
of thousands of terra cotta soldiers,
like pounding legos or lincoln logs
into the pliant earth--

getting harder to find in most cities,
except in some older alleys
or feeder walkways--

immediately transporting us back
to wooden carriage wheels, horse’s hooves,
vendor & junk wagons, wild wheelbarrow races--

astonishing abstract art to tread upon,
intricate, yet uneven patterns of polished stone
that rises up to meet your heels, never
just lying there like those great flat flounders
of granite/concrete/tarmac setts,
as unmoving & apathetic
as a bored spouse forced to consent
to conjugal duties;

almost alive, nearly animate, becoming
mad hatter checker & chessboards,
a challenge to all straight paths,
daring us to travel diagonally
like escaped lines on a Klee painting,

reminding us that life
is far from linear,
and that delicious madness
transferred to our soles
can liberate our lethargy,
shatter our shackles--

leading us onward
by stepping sideways,
backwards, in a circle,
or even leaping into the air
as our pedestrian travel
becomes a spirited ballet. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at Magpie Tales 201

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Ginny Brannan said...

What a beautiful capture of the image. I too, love cobblestones, the feel of them underfoot. Uneven, hard, transporting us back to another era. Beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

love love love the final two stanzas, Glenn - have always found cobblestone streets romantic -the many feet that smoothed the stones - happy new year! K

Claudia said...

like walking on the helmets of thousands terra cotta soldiers...ha... and also the escaped like of a klee painting...loving klee...and will remember this next time i walk on cobble stone...we have plenty of it in the old part of is no fun to ride a bike on cobble though... shakes you to the teeth...smiles... welcome back

brudberg said...

First of all a happy new year.. and thank for guiding me to this excellent picture prompt.. I could not avoid writing a little poem myself... Love the image of the terracotta soldiers... when in Funchal there was plenty of cobble stones. and I can assure you it looked weird when drunk girls in stilletto heels tried to master them

Strummed Words said...

I like that you see art in those cobblestones!

Brian Miller said...

smiles. i have an affinity for cobblestones....we still have some in the back roads down town...and old brick roadways as well...the tera cota warrior line is k i am fond of the age before for its romanticism...

good to see something new brother....welcome back

humbird said...

...ah, I remember walking those cobblestones barefoot in summer time...not fun ~ thanks for visiting/commenting at my blog!

LaTonya Baldwin said...

You find the grand and gritty in everything. Great images, beat, energy. You make the breathe.

Sumana Roy said...

'reminding us that life
is far from linear,' the message.

Tess Kincaid said...

Especially like the comparison to walking on the helmets of soldiers...nice one Glenn...a pleasure to see you at Magpie...

Karen said...

Okay. You win! This is perfection!

Brandee Shafer said...

Charming: cobblestone and our piece, here.

21 Wits said...

You paint a most lovely scene.

Tigerbrite said...

Cobblestones give such character and as you say the memory of horse drawn carriages. Lovely write for the prompt. The council have just laid cobbles in our old town area called El Pueblo, they give a totally different feel and lots of atmosphere.

Helen said...

Glen, this is beautiful .. you brought the cobbles to life, in beautiful black and white!!

Kathe W. said...

lovely- especially the last two verses....there are some cobblestone streets here in the USA....left over ballast from long ago ships. Cheers!

Lydia said...

Your poem, a love letter to cobblestones and their walkways, made my eyes misty. My favorite lines were....... every line.
I have a computer folder titled, "Poems by Others" and this is going there tonight. A marvelous work.