Wander along beautiful Desert Meadows Park's walking trails — past leafy trees, shrubs and veggie gardens, wildlife habitats, shaded benches and the picnic area — to discover the latest addition to this ever-evolving bit of botanical heaven.

It's the new PoeTrail, featuring five intriguing stations that hold works penned by local poets for visitors to read — and perhaps take a copy home. Feeling inspired? One station includes an extra box holding a blank pad of paper so visitors can write their own verses!

A joint effort of the local Poets Corner group and the Green Valley Gardeners club, this new feature encompasses five stations — three on the east side of the park along the Anza Trail, another at the library garden, and one by the butterfly garden.

The idea was promoted by Green Valley resident Cal Lambert, a Poets Corner member, and was enthusiastically accepted by the poetry group, which gathers twice a month at the Joyner-Green Valley Library. The Green Valley Gardeners, which oversees the park, also gave its thumbs-up for the project.

Garden Club member and metal sculptor Henry Garcia designed and fabricated special posts topped with his metal depictions of quail, hummingbirds, spirals, sun shapes and more. Poets Corner devotee Tia Ballantine painted the interior of the poetry boxes with colorful, whimsical images, including mermaids.

“I thought it was a great idea for the park,” says Lambert, who proposed the PoeTrail about six months ago and remembers the Tubac Center of the Arts' inaugural Poetry Walk in 2015 along the Anza Trail in that community.

“I loved the idea,” Ballantine says, pointing out that “all trails have voices.”

Desert Meadows Park project coordinator Chuck Parsons of the Green Valley Gardeners designed the PoeTrail's winding logo, the poetry boxes were ready in June, and the installations all went up this summer.

It came together quickly and smoothly, and now adds another element of artistic nature to this welcoming site.

Plus, it is an additional step in helping make Desert Meadows Park a place that community members are adopting as their own, and one which will help draw out-of-town visitors, Parsons notes. Green Valley Gardeners, which began creating the park in 2014, welcomes community participation at this site on La Huerta, just east of Abrego Drive and north of Continental Road.

Ballantine finds that “gardens are poems” and the new PoeTrail “provides people with a moment of respite” among the mix of alluring flora and shady spots to enjoy pieces of literature written by community members.

“Poetry is a window into the human mind and heart,” she says, a means to look at our world in ways we don't ordinarily see.

In August, poems by Poet Corner members Teresa Goorian, Steve Chaffee and Richard Chamberlin, as well as Lambert and Ballantine, were featured at the PoeTrail. Other Poet Corner members and the public are welcome to submit poems for future months by emailing Ballantine at tiaballantine@gmail.com

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