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Poetically Yours - Ep. 60 - Poet Sums Up The Wonder of Massive Waters

Provided by Richard Holinger.

This poem is dedicated to Claire and Janie Zebro, Wyatt Kim, and Gracie Cade; may all your shallow swims have a feel for the depths.
- Richard Holinger

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's segment features poet Richard Holinger.

Holinger is a published author, including his books: Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences, a collection of his newspaper columns, and North of Crivitz, a book of poetry focusing on the North Woods and Upper Midwest. His work has received three Pushcart Prizenominations, and his essay published in Thread received a “Notable” mention in Best American Essays 2018. Holinger's works have appeared in several different journals.

He lives in the Fox River Valley area west of Chicago. Degrees include a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today he shares his poem “Zen and the Art of Underwater Beach Combing.”

Every summer sandy bottom shallows fill

With winter-fallen branches,

Tamarack twigs still holding onto fir,

Blackened leaves grilled by time

And water, long and lanky drifted

Seaweed, oval clams, confetti snails.

To smooth the underwater land for swimmers

Who prefer a slower, more measured

Entrance to deeper depths—shunning the jump,

The cannonball, the dive—a rake will comb

The year’s detritus if what pink plastic tines are left

Are held against float, hard-pressed, and slowly pulled,

Though never hard or slow enough to curb

The clouding stirred behind the cleanse, the once

Transparent space churned a murky Milky Way,

Specks spinning above long prongs, a swirling

Cosmos in tow, as if the universe

Exchanged its feeble equilibrium for bedlam,

Dancing about like it hadn’t a care in the world.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.