from Paean to Place


River rising—flood
Now melt and leave home
          Return—broom wet
                    naturally wet

soak-heavy rug
water bugs hatched—
          no snake in the house
                    Where were they?—

who knew how to clean up
after floods
          he who bailed boats, houses
                    Water endows us
with buckled floors

You with sea water running
in your veins sit down in water
          Expect the long-stemmed blue
                    speedwell to renew


O my floating life
Do not save love
          for things
                    Throw things
to the flood

by the flood
          Leave the new unbought—
                    all one in the end—

I possessed
the high word:
          The boy my friend
                    played his violin
in the great hall


On this stream
my moonlight memory
          washed of hardships
                    maneuvers barges
thru the mouth

of the river
They fished in beauty
          It was not always so
                    In Fishes
red Mars

rides the sloughs and sluices
          of my mind
                    with the persons
on the edge

—Lorine Niedecker