River and Moon, Two Poems by Me from River Fest 2012

Kayaking on the Susquehanna

If you’ve followed my last couple of posts you know that a few friends and I have been furiously promoting the power and playfulness of poetry in these hills and valleys of Pennsylvania. Please click back the last few posts to read more about it, so that I don’t labor on too much for the rest of the audience. It was really exciting! And my readers have been very patient with me, letting me go on and on about it all.

In related news, it seems I may soon have the opportunity of reading poetry at our state’s capitol as well, though I cannot imagine exactly what that entails, but somehow we’ve been promised television coverage ahead of time. This tells me much preparation needs to be done for whatever this event will be. It has to be excellent. I think my head is starting to spin.

These two poems are a little more serious than the rest of mine in this set, so I may post a second, lighter version. I am also working now on a little medley of poems by the three of us from the River Festival, Marjorie Maddox, Melanie Simms and yours truly.

As I say in the video below, I do tend to write a lot of moon poems, like the one on the Poet page here on this blog. The one I read by the river is one that brought a few tears to my mentor’s eye. He had to assure me it was in fact because it had moved him. He loves the moon too, and like me, is convinced she is a Lady, alluring and while not always unapproachable, forever out of reach. The metaphors are almost too much for a man.  The unrequited relationship he has with her is one of the things George and I have in common. I’ve included in the links of related articles below the appropriate song by Andy Williams.

Also included in the links below are some articles about a story that gave our table quite a few laughs at lunch after the reading. Apparently it’s not a good idea to nap in the Susquehanna, especially if you like your alone time. These small river towns are just ravenous at the prospect an exciting floating corpse news story. I confess, sometimes we need to get out more.

In this clip I mention that the first poem was a response to Billy Collins. Here is his original:

“Fishing on the Susquehanna in July”

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one—
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table—
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

Billy Collins, “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” from Picnic, Lightning. Copyright © 1998 by Billy Collins. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Joshua James says:

    Finally!!! Been Waiting For This Video Been Checking Every Few Hours!!! Such a wonderful video and a beautiful reading!!! When you came on I was clapping and cheering… Woke my girlfriend up and it’s 2.06 in the morning so she was NOT impressed but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the video, It was well worth waiting for 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sonofwalt says:

      Haha, you charmer you! Well, my apologies to your girl. Tell her she’s lucky that I’m twice your age and thousands of miles away, or she’d have competition! Oh, yeah, and then there is the gay thing. What would my husband say!


    2. Joshua James says:

      LOL!!!, Meh she wakes me up whenever I fall asleep during her “dance films” so it’s only fair she wakes up during an awesome poetry lesson… Thousands of mile? Would that make you in front or behind time wise? LOL made me laugh x


    3. sonofwalt says:

      Yup, you in the UK are five hours ahead of me, you out there, always living in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Joshua James says:

      Ahh My uncle lives with his husband in New Brunswick… Not sure where that is but it’s about the same time zone I think… Any more poetry events coming up???


    5. sonofwalt says:

      Always, yes. Poetry Under the Paintings is coming up again soon, and we are planning more local things. Apparently some of us may be working up a reading at the state capitol building. A regional TV station has already signed on to be there to cover it! I am dead center in the middle of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, same time zone as New York City, which is about four hours or less to my east.


    6. Joshua James says:

      Sounds Awesome, Wish We Had More Things Like That Out Here… Instead It’s A Vicious Judgemental Chav Society Out Here… Oh Well There’s Always Hope 🙂 Awesome, From The Video It Looks Like A Beautiful Place 🙂


    7. sonofwalt says:

      The way to have those things, honestly is to make them happen. Find a few other like-minded people and just get it started. And find someone like Melanie who is amazing at getting publicity from all over, and Ann who has more connections than an erector set.

      But bottom line, if you want a poetry community, a force for art where one doesn’t exist, then there are probably others near you who want that too. Go make it happen.


    8. Joshua James says:

      I Have A Plan Which So Far Is Going Okay… If It Works… I Won’t Have Another Worry Again 🙂 I Best Get Some Sleep Now I Got To Read The Blog I Been So Looking Forward To, Thank You For Sharing!!! And Thank You For Your Kind Words On My Videos, Goodnight Sir 🙂


    9. sonofwalt says:

      Best wishes! And thank you too!


    10. Joshua James says:

      Hey David, I’ve just posted a new blog which I have mentioned you in, Hope That’s Okay… It’s a bit of a thank you 🙂


    11. sonofwalt says:

      Wow, Josh! Thank you! I am honored.

      Hey, have you thought of embedding one of your videos into your blog from time to time? I find it a great way of interlinking the two, blog and YouTube channel.


    12. Joshua James says:

      As mad as this sounds for a little tech monkey to say it… I’m not 100% sure how to do it I will give it a go now 🙂


    13. sonofwalt says:

      Ah! You need to use the full editor on WordPress so that you can switch to the tab (upper right) to use the html editor. That’s how to add the embedded code from YouTube. Then I just switch back to regular mode for the writing part. 🙂


    14. Joshua James says:

      Would that be the part where for me it says upgrade to pro? 🙂


    15. sonofwalt says:

      Nope. It’s part of the free package. We should skype talk sometime. There used to be a handy little thing on MSN messenger where I could move the cursor on your computer and show you things. I wonder if skype or some program can do that these days? Internet seems to be dumbing down sometimes latley. Every “upgrade” on YouTube feels like a downgrade lately.


    16. Joshua James says:

      Yeah sounds like a plan, yeah you can screen share on skype i usually use it to show friends scripts and what not, yeah YouTube Is defo going getting dumber yet more complicated at the same time if that makes sense 😦


    17. sonofwalt says:

      There ya go. Screen sharing. You at least have the words for it. LOL And yes, I get what you mean about YouTube. It’s less intuitive, less user friendly, more clunky, more cluttered.


    18. Joshua James says:

      110% Agree with Youtube, Since being brought by google they have tried being clever with it… Problem being it was perfect before!!! 🙂


    19. sonofwalt says:

      There are lots of great editing tools in WordPress, inluding something called Zymanta, that helps you find copyright free pictures and related articles. Great way to promote too, by linking around like that. I had to dig through the help links in WordPress to figure it all out, but it’s worth it. 🙂 Good luck!


  2. What a wonderful setting for such a poem…The whole event seems like a really lovely experience…!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      It was. It was. 🙂


  3. snowbirdpress says:

    I enjoyed the moon poem a great deal… Many thanks…


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