Friday, September 29, 2017

"Middle Creek" by Pat Anthony

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Middle Creek” by Pat Anthony.  Anthony lives in the rural Midwest where she finds inspiration in the rugged furrows of the soil and in the faces of the men and women working it. An observer of and warrior for nature and the environment, she uses the land as a lens, and her poems are most often responses to events around her.

Anthony is the former poetry editor of Potpourri (no longer in print), holds an MA in Humanities Literature from California State University, and was a teacher of English, Spanish, and Special Education until her recent retirement. She has work published or forthcoming in Cholla Needles, San Pedro River Review, Third Wednesday, Snakeskin, and Open Minds Quarterly, among others. Visit her blog at middlecreekcurrents.com.

Middle Creek

meanders to become the county line
stitching together wet banks pocked with nests
of darting swallows, the clawed graffiti of the
snapping turtle and coons come to wash.
July rain soon overflows banks, uniting creek
to river in a swirl of cornstalk and beans
the trailing branches of pawpaw and persimmon
wizened fruits afloat like lost flies and bobbers.
Seine water through your fingers as you wade
the gravel bars sorting through the eggshells of
the Great Blue herons nested overhead in
their windy aeries of sycamores and stick nests.
How the current rushes back to cover nacre
shining from mussels, the backs of the crayfish sidling
in the shallows. Stretch your arms to touch
almost both sides of these banks that soar above
your head and bridge the divide then step downstream,
mark how your feet drag through the water
wakes splitting from your heels each stride like that
of the heron behind you, parted water soon closed,
droplets heavy with a thousand micro organisms
bent on swimming eastward where the doe has just
crossed with her fawns, the divided gone back to one
like questions you had and find already answered.

--Pat Anthony

Poet’s Notes:  Hiking rivers and streams has been a lifelong passion, along with poetry, the two frequently intertwined. This poem is born from a day of hiking deep within a cleft that bisects a stream shaped like a number 80, where you become alone with only what you can identify for company. The herons had their young overhead, and yet there was an eerie silence. I tend to go to woods and water when the world is askew, when there is much to resolve, and somehow, as the water closes behind me, find questions and concerns resolve themselves, an inner and outer renewal that is healing at a primal level, so that the divide merges back to the one.

Editor’s Note:  I really enjoy the way Anthony weaves the idyllic images of wildlife and nature into a narrative that draws in the reader.  Using second person POV is always risky, but she employs it with skill here.  I experienced the sights and sounds and feel of nature as I read this one.

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