WATCH: Collins Middle School 8th Grader Liana Galvan Recites Her Poem, ‘The Sidewalks of Salem’ at City Inauguration

Posted on: January 11, 2024
Liana Galvan The Sidewalks of Salem

Liana Galvan, an eighth grade student at the Collins Middle School, drew a standing ovation following the reading of her original poem, ‘The Sidewalks of Salem,’ at the City of Salem’s Inauguration Ceremony, Jan. 1 at City Hall.

Ms. Galvan’s poem was chosen the winner of the first-ever Poet Laureate Initiative of the City and was among dozens of submissions from students at Collins and the Saltonstall schools.

The Sidewalks of Salem

by Liana Galvan

No matter where you walk, there’s a way
There’s a path
Cracked concrete, backed with memories of the past
Of horses trampling, or maybe the weather
Of shoes against the concrete, running off for the better
Pursuing a new hope, this city of peace
Known for the people and the legends and myths and the peace
You are not defined by your past, O Salem,
Look around and see how you’re steadily healing!
Too many different sidewalks to count, so I shout,
“Communities about, let’s stand together,
Passing through the future without a shadow of doubt,
Come join in the path of love, and we’ll soon find out–”
Where our future comes from, here resides,
The people of Salem, so magnified,
The autumn leaves blow about by October,
The winds of change are never so sober,
You can’t give up hope here, with something to say,
A word of kindness, hope, or a glorious day
In Salem lie the depths of an early history,
Something so deep, something so heavy, BUT
Nothing too irreversible, nothing too horrible,
Light outshines the darkness, call the people and communities:
Different ways of life, different skin tones, and walk next to me—
Take a journey through the streets of Salem!
See how the choices, the legacy of the past stands here
On an ever brightening path
Make a choice now, as you step on the cracks—
Look up, there’s hope when you look for it:
Oh Salem, you’re a blessing, you’re so golden
With your people, kind hearts– again, communities,
I stand on the sidewalks and lovingly remember the unity
Of people walking here, side by side
On the sidewalks of beauty, people unified.