Credit: Poetry Rock by Rev. Dr. Byung Sub Van in Bear Creek Gardens. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus.
Public Art Poetry Project
Starting in 2021, the City of Surrey created an inventory of poems by local authors to be incorporated into city parks, engineering, and civic facilities.
Methods of incorporating text into structures can include but are not limited to: being etched onto stone boulders, stamped into concrete walls or pavement, applied to glass with vinyl, or attached to structures using laser cut metal.
Sign up for our News & Updates at the bottom of our home page to be notified of future opportunities to submit poems for our inventory and to see how poems are being incorporated around the City.
Congratulations to 2021’s selected authors
The inaugural 2021 call for poems was distributed to a small, pre-qualified list of poets with a connection to Surrey. A selection panel of literary experts chose 13 poems for inclusion in the inventory.
Click on an author to read their poem.
now and then, we still wander
attached, even when not
drift along the
just the same.
A street light to see
a road to travel
a bike lane to ride
a crosswalk to stroll
a plot to plant
a hand to hold
a friend to meet
a bird to hear
a dog to walk
this place to call home.
Found Lines Overheard
And now without the smile –
I’m sorry, I was freaking out. Leave me alone.
Pavarotti’s singing, and he’s dead!
I think the girls should all be together.
It’s not a hard and fast rule.
At ACME GLASS we make your design come alive.
Watch me, Mama Chan!
water striders dart upstream
hold the river in place
six exquisite legs
skip across riverskin
dancing the surface tension away
tender toepads dimple
the face of water
cast eye shadows on the creekfloor
watch this marvel unfurl
on my son’s muscled tongue
wildspeech floods back
strider’s flicking limbs
trout’s pulsing gills
cedar scales measure each breath
the murmuration of spirit
the sound of stone
one hundred years in a heartbeat
SHIFTING THROUGH SMALL TALK
I never understood sitting in silence next
to a stranger. Even as a kid on the bus
I wanted to strike up conversation as
easily as a match lights a cigarette.
Inhaled imaginary quips. Exhaled
and choked, tongue-tied on the way
to Guildford Mall or Surrey Place.
I had to wait through twenty years in
a classroom enforcing the friendly rules
of conversation to finally find myself
comfortable inside chit-chat on my
bike to work. To turn to someone at a red
light and talk about her bell, or his panniers
or our sky, our bike paths, our gear in the rain.
Hope lurks in my eyes
as i open them- a useful
i work it to shine
a shoe i wear
to walk out
of your door, to go
on your street
leading to an office
a mall you have
a company you fund
the people you pay. Among all
value, notice that
the hope, the spark, the shine,
It is not by coincidence that I am here.
I was pulled here by strings tied to dreams of a future,
full of opportunities and a better life.
When I struggled to find a place for my fragile roots,
this city’s diversity, values, and vibrancy
wrapped me in its colourful, love-filled scarf.
And I forever belonged here.
ਮੇਰਾ ਇੱਥੇ ਵਸਣਾ, ਮਹਿਜ਼ ਇਤਫ਼ਾਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ
ਖਿੱਚ ਲਿਆਈਆਂ ਸਨ ਕੁੱਝ ਮਜ਼ਬੂਰ ਤੰਦਾਂ
ਭਵਿੱਖਤ ਸੁਪਨੇ, ਰੁਜ਼ਗਾਰ, ਬਿਹਤਰ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ
ਜਦੋਂ ਜੜੋਂ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਟੁੱਟਣ ਲੱਗੀ ਤਾਂ
ਮੇਰੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਦੇ ਬਹੁ-ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰੀ
ਬੇਸ਼-ਕੀਮਤੀ, ਬਹੁ-ਰੰਗੀ ਤੰਦਾਂ ਨੇ
ਲਪੇਟ ਲਿਆ ਮੋਹ-ਭਿੱਜੀ ਫੁੱਲਕਾਰੀ ਵਿੱਚ
ਤੇ ਮੈਂ ਸਦਾ ਲਈ ਇੱਥੋਂ ਦੀ ਹੋ ਗਈ।
Ellie in a Canoe
We set in near the Spit, the square grids slipping
Down the banks into a rise of busy currents
Sweeping the runoff fragrant heat late morning
It took time, the zips and buckles, water shoes, a cushion
Steer and rudder, we glorified the middle seats. Free ride!
At one’s leisure. And you, smiled more than usual
The sparkle of the day in our eyes, family selfie sent to sis
Who loves it instantly from thousands of miles northeast
A day flowing under that boulevard dodging rock cycles
We eased around bows in the narrowing memory of water
Pushed through cultivated fields as furrows of grasses
Nests and perches, a rustle of curtains, enter a coyote
Their interests on the other side, trots to the water’s edge
Eases inside the flow and crosses, in a moment, more sparkle
The shake of water leaving fur in good stead, us, in the wake
E.D (Ted) Blodgett
she always descends the stairs
into a park
in early flower
where to place her foot
her hand on the rail
how to stand
passes through her mind
not even birds
their blue fragrance fills
the evening air
here the stars are born
the perfume they exhale
overcomes a universe
the young moon against the shore
bent around the beach