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April was National Poetry Month and the San Antonio River Authority celebrated with a Writers Take a Walk event along the San Pedro Creek Culture Park.

The River Authority’s public art curator, Carrie Brown, senior engineer, Christine Clayton, and Brand & Public Communications interim manager, Nicole Marshall, joined a handful of poets, nature lovers, and history buffs on Saturday, April 23, for a tour of the Culture Park.

The group explored Phase 1.1 that opened in 2018 and donned hard hats and safety vests for a sneak peek at Phase 1.2, scheduled to open in the fall 2022. After a walk through art, around nature, and across time, the writers gathered at Casa Navarro and set down to express their inspiration.

Jo Guerra enjoyed the writing exercise as much as the physical excursion – as she exemplifies in her poem.

 

Ahh, the San Pedro Creek – by Jo Guerra 

 

Under an umbrella of oak trees

at historic Casa Navarro socializing, eating,

enjoying the breeze of a cool April

after exploring the San Pedro Creek.

 

Ahh, the San Pedro Creek

A place I’ve driven by

on the streets above.

Today I meandered the river,

learned and walked – good for my brain,

good for my soul at my senior age.

 

The Street Angel accompanied us

silently reminding to be kind –

what a concept present-day.

 

Native stone, water lilies, water grasses,

twelve colorful benches

adorned with Talavera inspired designs.

The Creek Lines sculpture

represents 300 years of San Antonio

with squiggly silver poles

topped by a reflective triangle-segmented canopy.

 

History detailed with colorful murals

portray we are all joined.

Work stopped by archeological finds until continued.

 

I wonder how artists

conceptualize such exquisite works,

countless workers build

while engineers plan these amazing feats

I never think about and take for granted

until I am immersed and appreciate.

 

Later this year I’ll talk to a waterfall

that will light up to my voice.

 

This culture is the reason

I transplanted myself back to the Bexar

to find the heart I left behind.

 

Sara Hardy was inspired by the new sculpture by Stuart Allen and Cade Bradshaw of the Bridge Projects. “Creek Lines,” sited in San Pedro Creek Culture Park’s Plaza de Fundación, celebrates the path of the creek and the history of San Antonio.

 

Creek Lines – Sara Hardy 

 

Each pole

Snaked upward

Created rhythm

Made my eyes

Climb their

Sinewy length

 

At the top,

A reflection,

Resplendent in its

Fragmented luster

 

At its base,

A sky blue surface

The creek path

Embedded within

 

My feet desired to

Follow the curvy line

So I let them

 

Mandelyn Reese seeks to reconnect humanity with acts of kindness and helpfulness. She finds joy and inspiration in nature.

 

San Pedro Creek Poem – by Mandelyn Reese 

 

I walk beside jagged rock walls

and notice blue spiral tiles

well-trimmed foliage

and ripples on the water

 

A duck delicately balances on one leg

below the cascading waterfall

called “Rain from the Heavens”

 

A grandiose wall backdrops the scene

covered in starry astrology patterns

 

Twelve generation of colorful benches

are nestled amongst the lavender flowers

 

The wispy wheat waves in the wind

as I admire the metal and mirror sculpture

 

Ceramic red roses line the bridge

while dainty orange flowers dot the ridge

 

A family of ducks cruise by in the sun

past a giant colorful mural called

“From All Roads, We Are All One”

 

Antonia Salinas Murguia writes poetry from the heart and has contributed dozens of poems to local periodicals and regional anthologies. Her poem explores the sense of discovery one may find along this ancient arroyo.

 

Walking the River Path at Fifteen – by Antonia Salinas Murguia 

 

Step by step

                   Stone by stone

 

I walk the path

wanting to give my troubles to the river

wanting to wipe the deadlines hanging over my head

wanting to say it fell into the river, the whole notebook

 

Step by step

                    Stone by stone

 

I walk the path

searching for discovery

searching for something magnificent

searching for someone to see me

 

Step by step

                    Stone by stone

 

I walk the path

wondering if others love this path as I do

wondering if I fell in, who would come to get me

wondering if the river would be as cold as it looked

 

Step by step

                    Stone by stone

 

I walk the path

appreciating that I get to be here today

appreciating that my city has a river that brings beauty

appreciating the magical feeling of community

 

Step by step

                    Stone by stone

 

I walk the path and smile

 

Don Mathis has led several Writers Take a Walk excursions. Back in 2016, before construction of the Culture Park even began, Don led a group of poets along the historic sites along the San Pedro Creek and gathered their poems in an article for the San Antonio Report. In 2019, the River Authority published a chapbook of poems from the first Writers Take A Walk event which Don co-organized with staff. Don’s focus this year was on the aural.

 

On the San Pedro Creek – by Don Mathis 

 

I can hear

water flowing underground

pouring from the past

streaming through the present

straining towards the future

priests and Coahuiltecans building a mission

soldiers marching in formation

a flood tearing a neighborhood apart

a mason making a new home

an artist creating a new mural

a writer crafting a poem

 

I can hear

an ancient tree growing,

roots reaching deep, branches stretching high

a ripple of fish in the stream

the concentration of a heron eyeing that fish

the call of a mother mallard –

and the hurry of ducklings to be by her side

traffic over the bridge with four names

echoes of voices along the arroyo –

across the ages

the feet of people on Houston Street

 

I can hear

excitement from the audience at the Alameda

the sorrowful clang of a jail door as it shuts

a cry of revolution from Spain, from Mexico

the shout of a strike from the pecan shellers

an ambulance howling to the hospital

the hush of a hearse on the way to a grave

laughter of fiesta, a party in the park

an explosion of a piñata, the children’s glee

the auction of cattle at the stockyard

shadow falling on stone, as eons pass

 

I can hear

praise reaching high heavens

from the little church in the valley

debate of ideas from City Council

the gavel of justice from Federal Court

longing in the eyes of lovers

the class called to order at the old school

of José Francisco Ruiz by Plaza de Armas

and the university rising at that same location

the signing of the deed by José Navarro

last call for five cent beer at La Blanca Café

 

I can hear

clicking of cameras on Camaron Street

airwaves emanating from the radio

comercio on Commerce Street

weeping from women on Calle Dolorosa

the solitude of Soledad Street

an encampment of cowboys on Camp Street

the ghost of train whistles on old El Paso

humming from the Pan-Am Highway

the comingling of creeks with the Apache

I can hear the past, the present, the future

 

San Pedro Creek Culture Park is open daily from 5:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit https://spcculturepark.com/ to learn more.

Post written by: Don Mathis, local poet and Writers Take A Walk co-organizer.

 

XXX

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