Ray WhittierRAY WHITTIER   (1932 -      )   is a lifelong Lynn resident and longtime owner-operator of Ray J. Whittier for Lettering, a sign shop in downtown Lynn. Ray Whittier has loved poetry all his life and was moved to start writing his own poetry when he observed a humanitarian act in Lynn that was the basis for “A Christmas Gift,” the title poem of his self-published first book. A second collection, Poems, appeared in 2010, and a new expanded edition of A Christmas Gift was published in 2012.


A significant portion of  Ray Whittier’s poetry is inspired by Lynn history, including “The Snake Man of Wyoma Village.” Charles A. Clark (1871 – 1965) was one in a long line of Lynn naturalists who frequented Lynn Woods and Whittier’s poem about him is featured in an article about Clark in the anthology No Race of Imitators: Lynn and her People (Lynn: Lynn Historical Society, 1992). Ray Whittier’s own naturalist tendencies are expressed in “Bird Watching With My Son,” wherein an exciting observation takes place in the Lynn Woods. “Fall Camp Day at Lynn Woods” was written to commemorate the event naming Cooke Road (1993), which runs between Dungeon Road and Great Woods Road and leads to the Stone Tower. The road’s namesake, Stanley Cooke, helped stop an interstate highway from expanding into Lynn Woods in the late 1960’s. The poem and the commemorative event (cosponsored by the Lynn Museum and The Friends of the Lynn Woods) embody two important Exploring Circle traditions: the camp day and the ceremony to name a physical feature of Lynn Woods.

Hear and see Ray Whittier recite his poem Fall Day Camp at Lynn Woods




There was still a little light in
  the wood,
As we made our way to Walden Pond,
To sight the Yellow-Throated Warbler,
  if we could
And listen for its clear, staccato song.

We entered Pennybrook one hour past,
The spring air was fresh and still.
We hoped our luck and light would last
‘Til our years first quest was filled.

The pond’s clear water came into sight.
When suddenly out of the darkening pines,
Above our heads a blur of white,
A streak of yellow and wide black lines.

We made our way back as darkness fell,
Excited in the cool night air.
For we had something special to tell,
The Warbler had shown and we were there.



from:   A Christmas Gift: A Selection of Christmas and Other Poems            (Swampscott MA: Dory Press, Inc.) 2000.
courtesy:  Ray Whittier