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