Monday, October 10, 2016

Seasons on the Menominee

Dear George,
My Poetry Writing Workshop is back in full swing, so I've been re-inspired.  Our first assignment was to write a poem drawing upon the five senses.  I picked my favorite topic and came up with the following result.

Seasons on the Menominee


The ice on the river broke up in mid-spring 
The clattering crystals produced a dull roar
On shore we’d watch what the current might bring 
A bucket, a rope, a boat’s single oar

By May Pig Island turned pale green 
The trillium blossomed at Brewery Park 
Violets and buttercups lit up the scene
Downriver at night we could hear a dog bark

Too cool for swimming, we’d take our green boat
Searching for treasure in a neighbor’s lagoon
Sometimes we’d stop to relax and just float
Listening to the cries of a heron or loon

Swimming began by the first week in June
Steven was always the first to dive in
The shock of the water made young kiddies swoon
We marveled at the goosebumps that dotted our skin 

We swam underwater with eyes open wide           
The view was gritty, distorted, and brown
Sounds were muffled and warped by the tide
We held our breath and worked to stay down

Snapping turtles were life’s greatest fear
They’d swim by at dusk, their noses breathing air
Underwater we feared that these monsters were near
We’d splash away with a shudder and a prayer


Pig Island exploded with colors galore 
The birch were golden, the maples deep red 
At twilight we’d spot two deer on the shore
Or find their shed antlers in the forest instead

The weather turned cool, time for swimming now over
The smell of burnt leaves filled the autumn air 
We searched on the lawn for a four-leaf clover
The sunsets on the river were a glitzy affair

We gathered cattails from the river’s shore
Then left them to dry for eight long weeks
We set them on fire with a joyful roar
And raced round the drive with howls and shrieks


The river in winter was enveloped in white 
And oaks in the forest had shed all their leaves
The sun on the snow was uncomfortably bright
Huge icicles stretched to the earth from the eaves

Tiny chickadees dined at my mother’s feeder
Squirrels gathered lost seeds from the ground
The deer came at midnight to nibble our cedar
The howl of the wind made a ghostly sound

We shoveled the ice for a skating rink 
And built large forts for a snowball fight 
We’d stop by the house for a hot chocolate drink
Then back to the river in the waning light


It’s sixty years since I lived on the river
It’s as fresh in my mind as the day that I left
Poems about rivers always make my heart quiver
That may well explain why I’m feeling bereft

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention the bloodsuckers; perhaps, like oranges, it doesn't rhyme with anything.