Father, I'm drowsy in April's humming sun and think
A girl the color of Autumn kneels at the Squanicook's bank,
Who is the river's daughter, dressed in driven skins,
Who knows a cedar wind at Nissequassick brings
The schools of alewife, herring, yellow perch ashore.
The place of Salmon roars with light. She steps, sure-
Footed onto stone; lithe as a poplar, bends over
The water. Wren feathers, shells, seven quills quiver
In her sable hair. Her eyes, a spring-fed stream,
Like silica, seek bottom. Deep in her mossy brain,
The white-tailed mouse is born. She carries in her supple
Body all of spring - a tree frog in the apple,
A kit fox dozing in the brush, a brash otter
Diving her river-veins - the new, young, utterly
Green morning beads her skin. How simply she leans
Into understanding, baptized by light and the delicate lines
Of shadow from cedar. A goldfinch has flown its ribbed nest,
Dusting her cheek with its wing, a hummingbird throbs in her wrist,
She is drenched in waking. Wonder, a long-legged doe,
Drinks in deeply, as all instinctive creatures do,
And laughs, leaping the current, printing the field with dew.
from The Squanicook Eclogues - pg 15. (W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 1987)
Melissa Green - whose 'vision is wonderbursts of wordstruts, inveterately inner, complex and subtle'* - is well-known within our community and beyond. The first time I read The Squanicook Eclogues, I cried. Noisily. Full-heartedly. Aghast at her exquisite, authoritative, passionate command of language, I audaciously imagined I might one day create a suite of paintings in response to these four poems. I made a start with an image-homage to 'v Fire'.
Amy Clampitt endorsed Melissa's first collection with these words, "Melissa Green is a born, a natural poet, with whose work I've felt a quick affinity, along with an astonished admiration. Who could have supposed that Wilfred Owen would find such a disciple? It is an index of her originality that beginning with his strict and demanding consonances, she has gone her own gravely, sonorously engrossing way, and done so with such winning assurance." Melissa is one of our Tuesday Poets; the poem she posted on her blog today - Statue of a Couple by Czesław Miłosz seems to me an echo of her Water. . .
For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill.
This week's editor is Seattle poet, Therese Clear. She has chosen the poem Talking Mean by Paul Hunter