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
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.
- Poetry by Melanie Simms at River Fest 2012 (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Marjorie Maddox, Little League, and the Susquehanna (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Authorities Startled When “Corpse” Floating in Susquehanna River “Comes Alive” (complex.com)
- Sleeping Man Mistaken for Dead Body in River (wtf.videosift.com)
- Man sleeping in river mistaken for drowning victim (kmov.com)
- Poems in motion: Billy Collins at TED2012 (ted.com)
- Moon River: Andy Williams (keepthecoffeecoming.wordpress.com)