Sewickley resident shares weekly poem for passersby
Shay Jones doesn’t consider himself to be a poetry expert.
In fact, he isn’t a fan of the genre. But Jones is fast becoming one; so much so, he has installed a poetry pole in front of his Centennial Avenue home. He places a new poem inside the box each week.
Jones, who works as a physician’s assistant, said he got the idea from his blogging.
“I blog under an alias about philosophy and psychology, things like that,” said Jones, explaining that poetry boxes came up in a conversation. That was when he thought about getting a box for himself.
Jones’ partner, Diane Magin, thought it was a cool idea as well and went on line. What she found was a company in Oregon called Poetry Boxes that sells wooden poetry boxes and poles for around $300 and ordered one for Jones as a present.
Jones, a self-described extravert, liked the idea of having a wooden stand with a fresh poem inside each week. He viewed it as a conversation starter and a way to make people smile. And to draw further attention to his endeavor, a decorative pig with the words “Poetry Pig” painted on its back and a penguin with an American flag guard the pole’s bottom.
“Diane and I will sit outside with a glass of wine and talk to people who walk by,” he said.
Jones’ poetry pole is roughly seven feet tall with a wooden, weather-resistant box with a transparent window that sits on top. To accommodate walkers at night who might want to read his latest offering, Jones installed a solar light. He also hung a plastic envelope with a red notebook and pen inside for feedback.
The notebook, which is filling up fast, is full of positive comments.
“Your poems are one of the more beautiful aspects of living in Sewickley,” wrote Grace. “They add to the joys of walking my dog.”
Added Linda, who calls herself a closet poet, “Look forward to stopping by and reading the new posts. Love the idea. Poetry rocks.”
Jones said he picks the poems and goes with what he likes, or thinks is timely and relevant. So far, none of his own poems have been displayed.
On Memorial Day weekend, the poem he selected was “No Enemies,” by 1800s Scottish poet Charles Mackay.
“I rarely put up a rhyming poem,” said Jones, adding his target readers are non-literary types like himself. “Modern poets don’t rhyme.”