Birthday Greetings VI: The Riverway

out of a muddy river, a water’s way
of creation, a dream of ponds and paths,
an ocean waiting at the end of a stream
at the beginning, a meander chain
of light-catcher pools strung together
like rough-cut jewels on a ripple necklace
where broad salt marshes once spread
over a brackish flood, now routed
between sculpted banks, cleared of underbrush
and shadowed in stands of beech and oak.


it was when October slept in the trees
and the river’s reeds remembered summer
sunlight filtering down to the water
where ducks and geese, swans and herons
swam and flew into the evening
on a night halfway to winter
you and i sat on a bench in this house of leaves,
inlaid with river, a ceiling of stars,
i asked you to imagine forever,
and when i asked again, you said yes.


so you brought me your dream of creation,
channeling my meanderings
clearing banks of overgrown intentions
designing paths through a landscape
planting brave trees into the future
settling shallows with tawny reeds
stirring the air with the wings of water birds
making an emerald necklace of our lives,
an intentionally civilized wilderness
forty years before we came to the ocean.

Emerald Necklace Newsletter, 2009
Shore Lines, 2012
Winner of the Gretchen Warren Award of the New England Poetry Club for best poem, 2010