praise for river bow
“In this era of clotted postmodern poetry, it is a pleasure to discover Ann Goethe’s pure unapologetic lyricism where ‘we can stumble upon the hysteria of turkey mothers, the/ mindless scatter of their stub-winged chirping babes,’ or ‘watch a swoop of bats embroider/fireflies through the swarthy air of twilight.’ She has a keen eye for and love of her environment that are increasingly rare.”
MAXINE KUMIN, Pulitzer Prize winner
“In Ann Goethe’s fluidly lucid chapbook River Bow, the narrator ‘slips into the river current’ at times in the sleekest animal skin, sometimes in the balanced wisdom of a woman’s heart, but most times as an integral spokesperson for the still sacred nature of land – this place that is hers to contemplate and embody as, perhaps, proximity to ‘bear witness to the endurance of changing land.’ But inevitable mutability in this collection is celebrated, and more importantly transmitted as her small grandson chases the river from window to window: ‘He pats the glass as if to shake it/ to its senses… Riva.’: His name for an energy he too already loves well. The reader feels that when they have walked through the portal River Bow that mysteriously indeed, ‘Winter was/ the color of the moon/ spilled against/ a rounded doorway/ swaying.’ Momentous stillness and vibrancy, emboldened. We are left happily unsettled with yet another partial insight.”
KATHERINE SONIAT, author of The Swing Girl and A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge
Dominion of The Beasts
The black bear accommodates our homestead, accepts
cultivated berries, apples, pears, peaches and plums.
He is without malice, yet tips the hives of honey bees,
frightens neighbors, and stays as invisible as God to us.
A doe standing mid-path to nurse her speckled twins
nudges them into the ferny shadows to let us pass so
we can stumble onto the hysteria of turkey mothers, the
mindless scatter of their stub-winged, chirping babes.
Infant rabbits dot the grass like dandelions about to blow.
Late afternoon loosens colored song birds to flowered
meadows, bug catchers dazzling the glossy greens of June.
Blue-breasted swallows dip and sip the river’s shimmer.
In the fading light we watch a swoop of bats embroider
fireflies through the swarthy air of twilight as the river
frogs begin the tune up for their all night symphony.
We bear witness here to endurance in a changing land.
Blue and White Row Boat
My son has built a boat for his sons.
While they slept he spent the long
spring evenings tending the boards,
smoothing, fitting them together.
When the boys arrive riverside
it is waiting for them, almost a toy,
but more serious; anchored on
the beach, watertight and ready.
He shows them how to take the oars
and row their bantam boat over the
river’s smooth surface on a perfect
day in June with all of summer ahead.
His sons are young boys wild with joy.
Who will tell their father that summer
Is briefer than a long sip of cool water?
That childhood is the raising of the glass.
In a June new green tree
The Queen of Hearts
splits in two and becomes
a scarlet pair.