Category Archives: Poetry on the Move

Legacy of Poetry: Poetry on the Move!


As part of San Jose State University’s annual Legacy of Poetry Day tomorrow, Thursday, April 18, I’ve been invited to host a reading of poems from our contest anthology, Invention. Nine readers answered my invitation to read. Each reader will read their own entry and one other. Our portion of the day-long event begins at 1:30 p.m.

I will open the reading with “A Lightbulb Moment,” the poem from our youngest contributor, Zahra Attarwala of Saratoga, 11 years old at the time of her entry.

While there were five poems chosen as winners, ALL entries appear in this fabulous anthology. I will have a few on hand for purchase. Here are tomorrow’s readers and the additional poem each has chosen.

William Burns; reads Sandip Bhattacharya
Jade Bradbury; reads Marianne Bickett
Kathleen Goldbach; reads Peter Bosel
Mark Heinlein; reads Samantha Le
Dennis Noren; reads C. Seney
Rene Schell; reads Christine Richardson
Mary Lou Taylor; reads Maureen Draper
Janet Trenchard; reads Lita Kurth
Jessica Keaton (Second reader) reads Leah Browning and Muriel Karr

There is a full days’ events planned. Perhaps I will see you there. Parking available in the Fourth St. Garage across from the MLK Library. Come through the library into the plaza right out front on campus side. Full schedule at the event link above.

New_Legacy_of_Poetry-final-1Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Emeritus



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Poetry on the Move: Anthology Reading

Dear Poetry Lovers~

If you submitted a poem to the Poetry on the Move contest, then your entry appears in the just-released anthology, Invention. San Jose State University has invited me to host a reading from the book at the Legacy of Poetry Day on campus, Thursday, April 18th, 1:30pm. Our segment will last for half an hour.

If you’d be interested in participating by reading your poem, please contact me asap at the email listed below. We will have room for 10 readers and a spot for you will be reserved on a first-come basis.

There will be an opportunity to purchase a copy of this lovely keepsake anthology with your poem included on its own page. Your name and poem title also appear in the index.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate–for one more week!



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Poetry on the Move: It’s a Beaut!!!

I just received my copies of the Poetry on the Move anthology and I’m so impressed! It’s a complete collectable, 96 pages!, perfect-bound, color and graphics throughout. The poems are printed on a lovely weight of paper, one poem per page, each embellished with transit imagery. There’s a full index in the back so you will have no problem locating your poem or your own favorites.


The book itself is sized to reflect the car cards that appeared in light rail and buses. The cost is $17, and priced to cover production costs. I supported those costs as well with the remainder of my Poet Laureate project funds.

If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, I believe you still can. See below. I will have a few copies to sell at my remaining events.

I’m so proud of the poetry presented here and the lovely publication the County produced. I hope you get a chance to see it soon!


Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

To order your copy(s), please send an email to Please be advised: this isn’t my account but one the County tends. You can reach me at

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Order by this Tuesday: Poetry on the move!


Anthology cover!

Dear Friends~

One of the goals of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate program is to craft a poetic identity for the county.  I am pleased to announce, working with the County Executive’s Office of Public Affairs, we have created a beautiful, colorful Anthology of the poems that were submitted for the Poetry on the Move contest, last spring. It will be perfect bound and sized to replicate the VTA car cards.

You will recall that Poetry on the Move put winning poems in public transportation for everyone to enjoy.  The Anthology, which takes its design cues from the shape and color of the transit and bus cards, includes all of the poems submitted for the contest, including yours.

We will print a limited supply for the public libraries.  As a contributor to the collection or supporter of poetry in the county, you may pre-order copies of the Anthology for yourself, family and friends at cost.  The cost for each Anthology is $17, including taxes, shipping and handling.

To reserve your copy(s), please place your order by responding to by Tuesday, January 29, so that we can have a sufficient number printed.  You will receive the collection in the mail in four to six weeks. Please do not try to use the Poetry on the Move or any other email associated with me so that your order may be accurately processed.

Please include the following information:

Name, Mailing Address, and desired Quantity

Make your check payable to: County of Santa Clara

Mail check to:

County of Santa Clara
Office of Public Affairs
11th Floor East
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

On behalf of the County of Santa Clara, we are very pleased to make this contribution towards fulfillment of the goals of the Poet Laureate program.

Officially yours~

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

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Winding through the end: Poetry on the Move finale!

We’ve got just two days left of National Poetry Month. It’s Sunday, a good day to relax and read local poetry. Once you’ve read this final selection, I hope you find  time to peruse the earlier posts this month. So much good work being written in Santa Clara County!

If you care to leave a comment, I know the poets would love hearing from you. It’s awfully quiet out there. Thanks for reading along~and bravo to everyone who participated in the contest.

Poetry on the Move is a project of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. All poems remain the property of the authors.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

* * *

Silicon Valley

The showers of the sun
Gleaming through overcast skies,
The sequoias
Rising from the womb of fires…

Our hearts sing-
Life flows…
Our minds zing-
Creativity glows…

The valley of us –
Of smarts, arts
And the indomitable hearts…

Yoga Saripalli
San Jose

* * *

Silicon Valley

A living, self-creating entity composed
of brick, mortar, and silicon chips
fueled by sunshine and brainshine
where people and ideas are pulled
together in a synergy of mass and energy.

A paragon of possibility where
life is reinvented everyday.

Marjorie Schallau
San Jose

* * *

Silicon Vienna

If Mozart lived here,
new planets, discovered by
telescopes in space,
could inspire
another Jupiter symphony.
Mozart would throw down his quill and embrace the new keyboard
and its music notation software.
He would listen to the discoveries crackle through the air
like explosions of daring harmony.

Renee Schell
San Jose

* * *

These Beds We Live In

Creeks, trails, roads and rails crease our gypsy sheets.
Pillows plumped by labor boost business that competes.

Outside worrisome weathers spawned by nature and man
spin droughts, firestorms, job losses and stimulus plans.

We disrupt. We retrain.  We aim to get ahead.
We innovate together while we remake our beds.

C. Seney
Santa Clara

* * *


Trains came first.
Railed dragons
Roaring forward.

Autos followed;
Demanding roads and bridges
Line our landscape.

Then the telephone
Tied us together.
Our whispered words heard.

Soon electronics excited.
A deluge of gadgets
Raining down.

Today, iPhones
Cover our valley,
Tweeting like angry birds.

Judith Shernock
San Jose

* * *

Friday Night Stroll

Standing at an easel,
paintbrush in hand, mixing
burnt sienna with a splash of white
to make sand the common ground.

On a special night of the month
art on display in galleries
in downtown San Jose´.

You might be the purchaser
who takes home a painter’s heart.

Mary Lou Taylor

* * *

Anake’s Undoing

Not a pill I took, but Ananke’s undoing I think.

Elements disassembled and reassembled into their other forms.

Steel, stone and plastics once clotted now dissolved in thick streams wandering a fruited valley. Orchards swallowed to the ground, now grasses covering a winter hillside where melted snow stole bare footprints.

James Thorn
Santa Clara

* * *

Dollar Dress, 2008

A Babylonian goddess pointed at me
and money, jobs, and houses
flew up in the air over Kansas
and suddenly I was a stripper
in a dress made of dollars,
peeling off a dollar to each beat of the drum,
until, in the finale, naked,
arms out to each side,
chin up, I cried,
‘Bring me my wings!
I have immortal longings in me!’

Janet Trenchard
San Jose

* * *


Silicon Valley a place where we invent
Some are wizards that are heaven sent

many faces
different races
from different places

could be me could be you
now you think now you can do

Silicon Valley a place where we invent
To keep on inventing is the wizards intent

Michael Uhila
Mountain View

* * *

The Joy of Transit

This change of commute is no accident.
In place of the many hours I’ve spent
Driving my car, being far from content,
Consuming gas by the dollar and cent,
The stress of the road has got up and went.
Here, there’s time to work, to play, to invent.

Larry White
Mountain View

* * *

The Movers

A couple of quarters jingle in my pocket.
That’s all I need for a ride on the city bus—
A five, maybe ten, minute journey
To the next destination,
And a chance encounter with Inspiration.
Hop on up, say the movers,
Open your mind—
Leave the mundane world behind.

Kathryn Wong


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Coming atcha: More contest entries~

I hope you’re enjoying these entries of Poetry on the Move poems and the personal way each interprets the contest theme, “Invention.”

If you care to leave a comment, I know the poets would love hearing from you. Thanks for reading along~I’ll be posting these poems through the end of April, National Poetry Month, so stay tuned.

Poetry on the Move is a project of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. All poems remain the property of the authors.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

* * *

Can you put it in motion without it?
Can you act on it without it?
Can you want it without knowing you want it?
Can you find it if you don’t don’t look for it? 

Ruth Pangilinan

* * *

Here, In the Valley

Give us a spot, unfettered.
A space for breathing, where the gears sing,
and static invigorates the skin,
where one craves the taste of metal on the tongue.
Where even in the tenuous bloom of exhaustion
the potential vibrates,
until molecules crash into being.
Birthed out of the synapse air.

Mary Pascual
San Jose

* * *

Silicon Valley Crop Version 2012

Rivers of asphalt
Flow past orchards of buildings,
Where chip designs bloom.

Michael Pelizzari

* * *

Oldman Coyote and Grandmother Spider say

Those who promote that they’re always wise
why believe such lies?

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to find new ways
to live, travelers from sea to mountain
and in your garden
as you travel in ours.

Consider this, that your question
and answer are the same,
a reinvented recipe for sweetening pain.

Robert Pesich

* * *

Techie Daughter 

I handed her a bag of broken glass
and said, “A stained glass window is the hope.”
She winked and worked and thought and on and then—
Voilà! My own online kaleidoscope.

Palmer Pinney
Palo Alto

* * *


My Aunt Necessie
Is the mother of Invention.
I asked her once why she named
Her son Invention.  She said
She didn’t really have a choice,

Especially here in this Valley
Where technology grows its
Apps faster than cherries.
Want to see her garage?
It’s a museum now.

Dennis Richardson
San Jose

* * *

At the Crossroads:
° N  /  122° W

I am a fancymonger.
Who are you?
Are you a fancymonger, too?
Ah, there’s a club for us.
Come along.

If you dream in What-If
and speak in Why-Not.
If you fashion Never-Before
out of Never-Could.

You belong.
Come along.

Christine Richardson
San Jose

* * *

King of the Hill

Competitors across the choppy seas
ready to stomp you down

But you raise yourself from the sodden ground
Young minds
New ideas
Lifting you higher still

Innovation keeps you
King of the Hill

George Rinaldi

* * *

Gems in the Valley

Inventions pop from

a matrix of failures,

gleaming like garnets.

David Ring
Palo Alto

* * *


Tonight, I stare outside, seeing.
Straining through the haze, through the dark.

I blink, and the haze disappears.
The darkness vanishes. And now I can see.

Enlightenment dawns precariously upon the clearing dusk.
Now, It has no doubt, as it envelops the world.
Because there is always more to see.

Manasa Sanka

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More poets on the move: More Entries!

I hope you’re enjoying these entries of Poetry on the Move poems.  I love to see how each interprets the contest theme, “Invention.”

If you care to leave a comment, I know the poets would love hearing from you. Thanks for reading along~

Poetry on the Move is a project of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. All poems remain the property of the authors.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

* * *


Like an abbey of monks
hunched in work cells,
a huddle of believers
obsess over lines of
Dry eyes gaze at
scrolling screens.
Iteration after iteration until
the powers deem it one point oh.

Lisa Liu

* * *

Silicon Valley

Gone are cherry and prune orchards
Silicon grows where farms were plenty
Farm machinery rusts under the Pacific sun
Wafers and chips now sell like apricots

Seed money is worth millions
The local farm stand is now a start-up
Markets now are global
Apples are products you can never eat

Denis Lynch

* * *

In the Beginning

Creating something out of nothing—
like magic—is an illusion
of newness, while ghosts of
the original lurk in shadows
in the luminosity of new ideas:

New skin like new shoots reappear.
Embers glow rekindled.  Words
scrabbled—bring new meaning.

Pushpa MacFarlane
San Jose

* * *

Art is jealous:  it keeps me awake. Intent on making the summit before sunrise, I imagine watching the first light pearl along the ridge and silver the high valley lake. Thirst overtakes me. I shoo water-striders from the running brook and sip the cold; the top is within my grasp.

Patricia Machmiller
San Jose

* * *

The Birth of an Invention

Be it sudden inspiration
Or insight born from frustration
Ideas from either source
Can change history’s course
When fueled by imagination

Nancy Madison
Palo Alto

* * *

A Wonder

No tree so straight and leafless stood
beside this trail
the last time I passed by.

No spider ever spun a web
so long and strong
or hung it up so high.

It must be that the White Man came
and left it there
and me to wonder why.

Loren Meissner
San Jose

* * *


See the tiny seed

Oh Valley of Heart’s Delight

Water the future.

San Jose

* * *

Life’s Journey

Keep on going.
Going no matter what,
one step after the other.
Walking. Wandering.

Farther and farther,
leaving one home.
Reaching another one.
Jogging. Jarring.

Coming back again.
Someday. Someway.
Completing life’s circle.
Running. Racing.

Srivarsha  Nandula
San Jose

* * *

My Writing Rock

My writing rock is my special place
Nestled in it, I create my space,
On it is where I belong
My thoughts surface, clear and strong.

Creaking windblown trees
Mockingbirds’ calls tease,
Staccato swoosh of the forest stream
All create the backdrop for my dream.

Susan Paluzzi

* * *

New Fruit                 

Programmers in cube farms toil
Pulling all-nighters, facing IPO’s, racing
To foreign fields, cross-pollinating
Crops of iPads, iPhones, interfacing.

Once orchards graced this fertile soil
Valley of our Hearts’ Delight.
Now webs of silicon we weave
Bursting forth from that first byte.

Natalie Panfili
Mountain View

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Wonderful entries: More poets on the move~

And the poems just keep coming! For your enjoyment, here’s the next installment of Poetry on the Move contest entries to keep up with National Poetry Month.

And if you care to leave a comment, I know the poets would love hearing from you.

Poetry on the Move is a project of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. All poems remain the property of the authors.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

* * *

A Dream of You

You dreamed a dream, and
A dream dreamed of you

You never let go, and
The dream kept hold of you

Step by step you grew,
You and the dream,
You grew

What could never
Have been dreamed alone
By either your dream
Or you

Ann Justice
Palo Alto

* * *

Eyes in Santa Clara

When the padres named the Mission
after Santa Clara, Patron Saint
of Sore Eyes, they did not know
the eyes in this valley would not reflect
the light from the wings of snowy egret
and Our Lady of Guadalupe River
but from IMacs and IPads.

Esther Kamkar
Palo Alto

* * *


I commuted
to the Ocean
in search of
the big SEE

I followed the Summit
so that I could
just Be Free

When all I truly needed
was a sojourn
with Thee

Kim Karloff
Los Gatos

* * *


I’ve invented a self-tossing salad.
I expect to make millions.
Doesn’t that sound about right?
Lettuce is socially redeeming.
And like money, so green.

Muriel Karr

* * *

Invention is
the ultimate
form of luck
visited upon
the well prepared and
the open minded.

Anne Halley Kel-Artinian
San Jose

* * *


Now Google, Facebook

e-mail, blackberry, ipod, texts

Silicon Valley

Mitsu Kumagai
San Jose

* * *


Oh, wild paper
Quivering, wrinkled, dog-eared
Barely a white edge left

They want to fence you out
Make you extinct
With scorn, machines, electricity

Hide, paper!
Wait in a cave
For the return of the pen
And black drops
Like rain
Like blood.

Lita Kurth
San Jose

* * *

Adventures in venture capital

I am a baby company, early stage and shiny.

They tell me we’ll grow then harvest for an IPO. I learn this means I will no longer exist.

Equity sounds like it should mean ‘equal’ and that they are sharing with you. They are not.

Heather Larrick
San Jose

* * *

“Made in America – Imagined in America” *

To this Valley
of gold-flecked hills,
scrub oak and madrone
dreamers have come.
Backdrops of
peach and cherry orchards
welcome more—
Founders of microchips and mobile apps
heads in virtual storage clouds
riding fast on information highways—
this vast harvest of invention
imagined right here,
starting with you.

(*Thomas L. Friedman)

Brenda Lee
Santa Clara

* * *

What Will Be

Children with their little voices
won’t remember how smart phones were
or the way to kindle an e-reader.
Android? What was that?
They will grow up with new inventions,
amazing creations: a flying train perhaps,
or floating to a friend’s house by tapping
a butterfly band on their wrists.

Cheryl Levinson
San Jose

* * *

Changing Valley

Sunrise in the valley of trees
Enriching the peaches and nectarines
Soil so fertile envy the world knows
Bounty of plenty to our nation homes

Fifty years later with silicon trees
No more peaches or nectarines
Building after building Silicon giants compete
Has life really improved with technology?

Darrell Lewis
Santa Clara

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Wonderful entries: More poets on the move~

Here comes another installation of Poetry on the Move contest entries to keep National Poetry Month moving.

Enjoy! And if you care to leave a comment, I know the poets would love hearing from you.

Poetry on the Move is a project of the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. All poems remain the property of the authors.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

* * *

Something In Us

We grew from ORCHARDS and Sand in this VALLEY.
In HOME garages, great minds CONNECTED us.
ELECTRONS streamed, re(e)-inventing the way we view the world.
Here, the World comes to us, not because of lines that have crossed.
Because something in us Changes lines to include the All in US.

by Nick Butterfield
San Jose, CA

* * *

State of Mind

Golden State
Land of Invention
Mother of Invention
Promised Land
Land of Opportunity

by Debbie Ford-Scriba

* * *

Going Home
People come from everywhere and wind-up on Stevens Creek,
Some talk to friends on their cell phones, while others, they don’t speak,
Some read a book, others sleep as down the road they sail,
I’m happy to be headed home today on the light rail.

by Stan Garber
Los Gatos

* * *

The Little Spider

Designer and builder
No degree from a school
She builds what she needs
Without blueprint or tool.

Climbing, rappelling
Trailing silk all the way
Constructing radials and circulars
It’s done in a day.

Apprehending a fly
She binds him up tight
Using loops of her silk
He’ll be dinner tonight.

by J. Richard Gaskill
Los Gatos

* * *


An inventor invents a tool
with the one shape that fits.

An artist invents light
with the right shade of blue.

A mother invents a soup
with her last scraps of food.

A child invents the world
with the ants in the sand.

by Kathleen Goldbach

* * *


Alas, I have another fear:
Antiques get newer every year.
Computers now are getting old—
I must accept that, I am told.

I guess I mustn’t make a fuss
When they include my old Mac Plus.
I’m sure I’ll see, before I drop,
An iPod in an antique shop.

by Jack Hasling

* * *


On the train,
in the bus,
no need for defensive
In the quiet,
scenery passing,
“what if’s” rise to the top.

The best thinking
not always in the shower.
The wheels turn,
the mind’s wheels turn,
replenishing the invent-
ory of ideas.

by Bonnie Home
San Jose

* * *

On the Right Track

It’s a mouse that cruises all day,
in Silicon Valley it finds its way.
You can Google the traffic right around the area
or take the historic trolley without the hysteria.
“Take us to Great America”,
as they jump and scream in euphoria.

by Nicandro Ilagan

* * *

Ode to an Electric Motor
(Powering a VTA Light Rail Car)

Oh Motor — How quietly you propel through busy sanity;

Silently laughing, almost smirking at auto profanity.

Oh Motor — Ever driven forward – Faraday’s electrons pulsing overhead;

Your safe, warm transport sometimes forgotten as dreams turn dread.

Oh Motor — Powering things big and small, keep us on-track through life’s inhumanity.

by B. Johnson
San Jose

* * *

Silicon Valley 3.0

Once dubbed Valley O’Hearts Delight
begat Shockley’s transistors
a silicon birthright

The Farm seeding
ventures to be
computing solutions the fruit of HP

NeXT Jobs and The Woz
thought differently
Macintosh truly an extension of me

iPhoney friends only in numbers grow
#Quantifed-self a friend or a foe?
Crowdsourced solutions IS Valley 3.0h

by Edward Jonathans

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Poetry on the Move: An official commendation!

San Jose City Council Commendation, April 18, 2012

Here I am with project artist Joe Miller receiving our commendations from the City of San Jose for our work to bring Poetry on the Move to VTA for National Poetry Month. Joe holds the purple car card, and members of the Arts Commission are holding the others. Vice Mayor Nguyen and Councilmember Sam Liccardo are on the left.

Why is everyone laughing? Are City Council meetings always this fun? I have just described to the audience that the competing poets had to limit their poems to 50 words or less, and suggested that the City Council try the same thing sometime. Guess I struck a nerve.

Joe and I are grateful for the project’s success and appreciate the honor bestowed.

Sally Ashton
Santa Clara County Poet Laureate


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