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River Findings

River Findings

The Ohio winds around hills
and streams down the hollows
passes steel mills, brick yards and scrap yards.
It carries tug boats, pushes barges, and hauls
black coal stripped from the mountainsides. 

The Ohio’s littered banks 
are home to train yards 
filled with graffiti-covered box cars
rusting relics of the Southern Pacific
and the Norfolk and Southern railroads.

Erector set bridges span
the murky river and link Ohio 
to “Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia,”  
the Weirton Mill,
and Homer Laughlin China Company.

In towns called Powhaton Point,
Shadyside, Bellaire, and East Liverpool,
houses are stacked on hillsides
with an array of slate,
tin and asbestos shingled roofs.

Ball fields and corn fields,
concrete parking lots and shopping malls
are full of busy people 
who fail to appreciate
the river’s charity.

There are roads with cryptic names like Goose Run,
Pinch Run, Riddles Run, and Rush Run.
There are towns named Brilliant, 
Costonia and Calcutta,
each with their own secrets.

North on Route 7 bars advertise Karaoke
and all you can eat fish fries.
A plethora of car lots and gift shops,
bait stores and gun supplies
dot the countryside with 

a never-ending display
of marketing profanity,
but the river rolls on
never compromising her dignity
never surrendering her boundaries. 

White-steepled churches
stand like beacons of redemption,
while billboards promote“Hell Fire Fireworks,”
“Gentlemen’s” clubs, sleazy motels
and the “Forbidden Zone Exit.”

Still the river moves along
around the hills and down the hollows
proud and powerful
chanting and rippling with satisfaction
a stalwart testament to her tenacity…

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 1/15/2019 2:12:00 PM
You transported me to a very real, yet magical place with your vivid descriptions. The next to the last stanza caught my eye with the line "white-steepled churches stand like beacons". That is similar to the opening of a poem of mine called A Town He Once Called Home, which starts "Like a beacon on a hill The white church steeple gleaming still". Amazing. I tried to post that poem on here the other day but alas, it's too long! Great little trip you took me on here! :)
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Susan Jeavons
Date: 1/15/2019 2:20:00 PM
Thank you Michael. With so many poets, we're bound to find similar lines. Glad you enjoyed the journey!
Date: 1/14/2019 7:13:00 AM
Susan I am laughing here. I have never been to Ohio. Did you make these towns up? "There are roads with cryptic names like Goose Run, Pinch Run, Riddles Run, and Rush Run." I also liked these.... There are towns named Brilliant, Costonia and Calcutta, each with their own secrets.
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Susan Jeavons
Date: 1/14/2019 10:07:00 AM
No Caren, they are real towns! Makes you wonder what they were drinking or smoking when they named them. Ha! But I promise, they are real. You can Google them. Thanks for commenting.