“CONFLUENCE” – Poem on Rivers, (for once, not the Delaware)


Written some years ago, this poem resurrects a winter trip to Pere Marquette State Park with my sister, Marilyn, to southern Illinois.  We stayed in Pere Marquette Lodge, which echoes Yellowstone’s and Yosemite’s.  It is sited at the point where three rivers (Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi) course as one, –keeping the waters open, blessing the birds    The rangers at Pere Marquette State Park told us at our dawn confluence (of naturalists), “Every black dot is an eagle.”




this wild connection

proves turbulent as two rivers


–Illinois, Missouri –

coursing, writhing

between blonde flanks

of tower-rocks

that funneled Pere Marquette

in his frail bark

smack into the Mississippi


here eagles cry and joust

for winter fish

–all smaller tributaries


releasing no nourishment


two tumultuous rivers

crest, fling spray

scour their own depths


til scale-silvered life

meets fate

in gilded beaks and talons


–two voluminous rivers roiling

until fish take wing





6 thoughts on ““CONFLUENCE” – Poem on Rivers, (for once, not the Delaware)

  1. Wow, Penelope, this is the swiftest blog response, and surely the latest, clock-wise, east-coast-wise, of my writing life! Thank you! I realize both Betty and I have poems on rivers. Do you write about your Columbia? Would you send me some? It’s 12;29 in the morning – and I have not ‘danced the whole night through’. But it’s o.k. Poetry is my dancing now. Love and light, c

    • Linda, a response like yours is the REASON I do NJWILDBEAUTY — and you and I have sensed earthen splendors together for that whole magical year in your native Georgia. Thank heaven for those memories, and your genius for carrying forward our essential friendship! c

  2. Very appreciative, Angela. This hemming-in winter is causing me to seek out poems on far-flung excursions. But nothing tops our day together at Island Beach, without jackets/hats/gloves and with wild rare ducks beyond counting! Your comments strengthen me, Angela.

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