This poem appeared in April 2014 in Montpelier, Vermont’s PoemCity. The river – and the photo above that I took of it – was the inspiration for the poem.
Lamoille River At Ithiel Falls
Sagging and swaying, the bridge hangs over
this wind-bitten valley. Below it, the river,
once a rushing water fall, laughing
from its punch-bowl, now only cajoles rock-
islands, strewn about after blasting.
They still stand, soft and pock-marked like us,
trying to keep it together, to outlast time.
Twisted and tortured, roots grip the boulders,
stretch to the water, steal sips, drops
for hemlock to rise into towers above cold
constant energy, marrow that flows,
washes and feeds. The falls are gone,
boroughs are floodless, still Lamoille moves.
While the sun sneaks away, shadows crawl
up from the bottom of banks, creep through the ferns,
shroud the sumac’s blood-red berries. Air cools.
Earth holds her heat as dusk tumbles down, folds into fog.
Only the river stirs; all waits except water.
Whispers of spirits seep from the earth, from boulders,
from blackness, waft through the blanketed night.
Possum and striped skunk slink, fisher cats,
owls hunt now, drink, live under cover.
Boundaries of reality blur as the river
churns past, present, and future together,
carving the earth. Unrelenting. Boundless.