Rain Reveals Hidden Poetry On Boston Sidewalks

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s public art that you can only see when it rains.  And when that happens, expect a poetic surprise.

WBZ-TV tested it out today, pouring water on what looked like an innocent piece of sidewalk.  Immediately what was once invisible poetry, leaps off the pavement.

“This is our ‘Raining Poetry’ project.  Maybe you’re not in a great mood because you’re on your commute or it’s raining, but then you see a poem. It’s something that lifts up your spirits a little bit,” says Sara Siegel from Mass Poetry, the non-profit behind the project along with the city of Boston.

Siegel says one of the missions of Mass Poetry is to bring poetry to residents.

“Every sidewalk should be like this,” says Charles Rodgers, who happened to be passing by as water was splashed on the sidewalk

An invisible poem is sprayed onto a sidewalk in Boston. (WBZ-TV)

An invisible poem is sprayed onto a sidewalk in Boston. (WBZ-TV)

The secret is a biodegradable water repellent spray that’s applied to the stencils. When it gets wet, the poetic secrets are revealed.

“Boston definitely needs more public art, so I’m happy to see this,” says Doug Johnson, another Bostonian who spotted one of the poems.

There are currently four poems in different Boston neighborhoods.

– In Dudley Sq, in front of the Dudley Café
– In Uphams Corner near NY Fried Chicken
– In Hyde Park by the library on Harvard Ave.
– In Roslindale at the intersection of Washington St. & Cummins Highway

Each should provide a month or two of happy surprises, every time it rains.

“Once we get the funding, we are looking to do more poems, in more neighborhoods throughout Boston, throughout Greater Boston, and we’re hoping to get poems in Haitian, Creole and Spanish and Portuguese, just to really reflect the neighborhoods where we place the poems,” says Siegel.

A poem is revealed on a Boston sidewalk. (WBZ-TV)

A poem is revealed on a Boston sidewalk. (WBZ-TV)

“I think it’s a very good idea. We need something uplifting today, don’t we?” says Sister Helen Miriam admiring one poem by the Hyde Park branch library.

The poets are paid for the use of their work, and so are the people who do the etchings and the installations.

Mass Poetry:  http://www.masspoetry.org/

More from Paula Ebben
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