This weeks Saturday Poetry, matched with mobile photography/art is entitled Riverkeeper by Margaret Gibson. She was born in Richmond, Virginia. She received a BA from Hollins College and an MFA from the University of Virginia. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Not Hearing the Wood Thrush (LSU Press, 2018); Broken Cup (LSU Press, 2014), a finalist for the 2016 Poets’ Prize; The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices (LSU Press, 1993), a finalist for the National Book Award; and Long Walks in the Afternoon (LSU Press, 1982), a Lamont Poetry Selection. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, Gibson was named the poet laureate of Connecticut in 2019. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Connecticut, and lives in Preston, Connecticut.
I have matched artwork by @elsienah – Els Brouwer with this poem. You can view her Instagram feed here.
If you would like to be featured in our Saturday Poetry section, please ensure you include the hashtag #theappwhisperer to any images posted to Instagram. This will mean we will be able to consider it.
To view the others we have published in this section, go here.
‘Riverkeeper’ by Margaret Gibson
Wanting to be that place where inner
and outer meet, this morning
I’m listening to the river inside—
also to the river out the window, river
of sun and branch shadow, muskrat
and mallard, heron, and the rattled cry
of the kingfisher. Out there is a tree
whose roots the river has washed so often
the tree stretches beyond itself, its spirit
like mine, leaning out over the water, held
only by the poised astonishment
of being here. This morning, listening
to the river inside, I’m sinking into a stillness
where what can’t be said stirs beneath
currents of image and memory, below strata
of muons and quarks, now rushes, now hushes
and pools, now casts a net of bright light
so loosely woven there’s a constellation
afloat on the surface of the river, so still
I can almost hear it weave in and out—
interstellar, intercellular—and isn’t it
truly all one, one world, no in or out, no here
or there, seamless, as a lily about to open
from just here into everywhere, is. Just is.
Restful lily. Lucky lily. To bloom must feel
like a river’s brightening at daybreak,
or a slow kiss, a throb in the elapse of time,
a shudder of heron shadow flying over
shallows that are merely the apparent
skim of a depth whose bottomless surface
seeps everywhere, bloom and retraction,
an anchored flow that upholds city
and cathedral, bridge and gate,
Orion, odd toad in the Amazon, blue dragonfly,
what it is to love… Spoil a river, you spoil all this.
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