Planting The Seeds

Holyoke citizens and leaders came together to write poetry about what their community means to them.

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"In the woods behind my house together we lose our sense of time. The wide expanse of trees and brush brings us closer to where we were. Traveling with the river and spit out. Never finding the exact way back."


Nilka Ortiz

"Looking forward to my weekendgoing fishing with my dad, everything is ready, the bucket, the fishing rod, my old sneakers and our lunchbag.

I can hear the river, making noises, the sound of the water splashng against the rocks. Definitely, it will be a fun day,my dad always changes my days like that.

We made it to the river,water feels warm, tickles my toes,'Dad, can I just egt wet first'Was really looking forward to swim for a while.

My dad's big smile, warms my hearthe let me get wet, even my hair -then we start walking up the riverturning every stone for camaroncillo"


Lauren Lantz-Helm

Empty page.

Quiet space.

Where was everyone?


Below ground

only the sound

of the furnace.


My medium:

graphite and ink

on thick,

white paper.


Safety of stories

predictable plots

beginning to end.



Lauren Lantz-Helm

Aunties laughing.

They’re in the kitchen

cooking for their own.


The house smells warm

like Thanksgiving.

like mashed potatoes.

Someone’s bickering

aunties become sharp



It feels like static

on my arms

I’m tight.


Cousins running through

something spills,

is it mustard?


What’s the matter with you?


Let’s eat.


Jim Batolomei

Poems don’t really rhyme anyone

and I’m not sure why

I don’t know why we closed that door

I guess it’s because we are all so shy


My OCD gets in the way of this

Because I feel we should still rhyme

It gives me a feeling of bliss

Even though I only have six minutes of time.


This wasn’t about my childhood

But I think it’s still OK

It is, however, important to me

And with that I’ll say good day!


Aliza Pluta

Jumping off the dock in the warm sunshine

swimming, splashing,

Biking through the woods, stopping to pick

blueberries and mushrooms –

The smell of must from the bedroom drawers

A late night snack of burnt buttered toast at nine-o-clock

Sheets, crisp from the outside air

The swing squeaking from side to side on the front porch-

Playing cards until midnight –

My summers are Hampton Ponds.


Tessa (but she did not write her name on the sheet!)

The perfect student

Always the best

Finish first

Never fail

The favorite of my teachers

Be a leader

Be perfect

Never miss a beat

My brother was good at sports

But I was good at being smart

Apply to colleges, make sure they’re the best

Because I only settle for the best.

Wait for the response.

Wait. Wait.


Rejected? Rejected?

What did I do wrong?

Why did I want to be the best?

Where is this school in Delaware, and

Why do I have to go?

Flash forward four years, and I ask, why do I have to leave?


Tessa (but she did not write her name on the sheet!)

One of the guys

a friend of my brothers

a simple time

dirty knees

scabby elbows

King of the mountain

or maybe the queen?

my sibling’s companion

always protected

never that mean.


Alex Morse “On the corner of Sargeant and St. Jerome”

On the corner of Sargeant and St. Jerome

Walk Sparky around the block in the sun, the

rain and the snow, chase him around the park,and get him home for dinner


Eat dinner with my mom and dad, and my twobrothers, and compete with my brother Matt

for the seat closest to my dad.


Run across the street to Kathy’s for acrobat

class, or jazz, and even tap, and come home to tell my mom about what I learned.


Get into bed, thinking about what I wantedto be when I grew up. The worries, hopesand dreams of a child – a time I will neverforget, and a time I will always cherish.


Alex Morse, “Vacation”

  • the beach

  • the boardwalk

  • the sun

  • the music

  • the people

  • the food

  • the dancing

  • the late nights

  • the late mornings

  • the laughter

  • the singing

  • the smiling

  • the feeling that life is more than what we do everyday

  • the feeling that life goes too fast to forget about the small things in life.


Mike Gallagher

A poem I must write

This can’t be right

Write a poem they say

Hey hey no way

I do not want to write

a poem I say no way no way.


Jeff Biachine










Jeff Biachine

There is more to knowthat we don’t knowWe cannot knowWe are unable to knowbut we can sense itfrom timeto timeSpirits crossingon planesfor a purposesometimessometimes notProject oneselfinto the timeand placeyou want.A positive thoughtwill propel you.The negative onesstop you.Control it, own itbut let the universesurprise you too.


Megan Barber

Chief of police

Chief of fire

Union pres


Long year


Will this fly?

Will anyone come?

What a treat

to have building relationships

be valid worknow I see people I knowwherever I go.


Megan Barber

great grandpa fredhanging in his old canvas hammockbib-overalled butt nearly touching the groundhe motions me overi draw out my shiny new jackknife from my

cut off’s pocket

the whittling lesson has begunwe two80 years between usSame blood, same history The scrape of the blades across the woodside by side