Photo © Ian Coristine/1000IslandsPhotoArt.com
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive Search   

“Water” Jean Pfeiffer Tate’s Poetry


  1. Fernfield was my grand parents last home on the mainland after they left Grenell Island.  I fell in love with water early, in the shaded cool of their Fernfield Boathouse. Copperas Island

Hooked, one might say, by all its phases and contents, salt or fresh, it took me in.  I try to capture water in words but it always manages to slip between my fingers;  I keep trying though, to catch it one way or another, because in all its guises, it calls to me and deeper than that, it holds my roots.

The swirled remains of some of my father's and all of my mother's ashes mingle in this revered River, a magnetic destination for part or all of the summers of my life.

 

 

 

 

Take Me to the River

            Lead me blindfolded

to its edge

hands out-stretched

        feeling my way along willow root

                       slippery

                                   pink granite

  a floating amoeba

                           skirting cattails

                 holding onto rootlet    reed    &    rhizome

in waiting to hitch a ride

                                on damsel fly’s

              iridescent wing

                swished as green moss

on pulverized stone

                   a-swirl in rings of eddies

alive with pickerel weed aroma

                              slip me naked and wet

             between cracks

                              where ferns enmesh with stone

                                                        and detritus once caught

                                             stays a while

 

Water To the River

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Who rolls this River?

We round the little cove toward Sugar Bush

      wind whipping up turbines

small hands clutch the gunwale on both sides

      the yellow wood put-put, flounced up and over

sideways in troughs

      oncoming crests churned under; forming, reforming

…the audacious rock and roll of it

                                            ( it was the ‘50s after all )

      rounding the point,

             spray,   high above the jut-rock headland

belted baby grand slabs of granite, pushed up on land

      water music breaking into a rush of sparkles

    nature grappled with, the challenge met

we dock triumphant like Iroquois braves

        at one with the Great Spirit

Who Rolls This River

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Northern Lights

Drops of randomness drank from

                                                            Hickory leaves

wood paneled walls struck with light

                                                                               sun shafts

                                                             flooded halls by day

windows at midnight bore

                                                                         borealis light

the star struck aura, dipped south

                                                                             into water

                                                         one entrancing night

 

Water Northern Lights

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Waves Question

It started with animals crawling up, out of water

   we of them, they of us

resurgence, running tides

foaming blankets on sand, lapped shallows

   shadows sharpening

gulls on one foot pointed toward day’s end

Newly-risen moon stationary in branches

   part of night’s coverlet

river, illuminated by a tight mesh of stars

   breakers needless, rolling silvery

wind riffled white caps ceaselessly taken under

all the time, waves asking

   “sun, moon, we need to know why nothing lasts…

explain please, the plangent meaning dipped beneath

your undertow…”


Waves Questions

 

 

Poetry by Jean Pfeiffer Tate

Jean Pfeiffer Tate graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1965 and has been showing paintings for 35 years.  She started writing poetry 20 years ago with many poems and articles printed  in “Country & Abroad.” Her first poetry book “Say: Poesis Hatchlings, Spin & Froth” was published Soul Garden Press.  The publisher said, “J. P. Tate says it has been my lifelong habit to put paint on canvas, not words on paper. Say is the result of what happens when word images begin to rattle in a cranium."

Posted in: Poetry
Print this story
Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.

Comments

Raymond S. Pfeiffer
Comment by: Raymond S. Pfeiffer
Left at: 1:40 AM Tuesday, September 26, 2017
To probe the quality of some of our fond, unforgettable old experiences at the River, experiences that are at the core of its place in our lives, is a worthy mission of the poet, and enriches my own understanding of my place here. Thanks, Jean, for these nice poems.

Post Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)