Summer 1949 • Vol. XI No. 3 Poetry |

The Spring Potomac

Force of the season flashes the bird north, And the fish shearing up cold currents to spawn. At that time fishermen stand on the banks of rivers. Along the Potomac they huddle on every rock From before light comes till after the light is gone. A seasonal rite performed in happiness: Fish blood stiffened on fingers, perhaps, allows Timbre of friendliness in voices that call From rock to rock, and voices that fondly curse The act of their pleasure, there where the water flows. Rain in Virginia curtains the gentle redbud. In the youngest leaves, what cool and delicate green! After the ritual, fishermen drive back home Sweeter in soul, they think, athletic in mind, Their tempers purged of the winter's sooty spleen. Yet I have a vision, here on my fishing rock Beside the medicinal river. Like an old wall The river reaches. It carries the ghostly print Of a million unwitting prayers and lamentations Flung by men nostalgia-gnawn at soul. And the casting hands of the fisherme

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