04-26-05. PoetPerson's Water Landing appeared on one of AOL's reunion message boards in 1995, and this writer queried the author about her poem sometime in 1996. She confirmed what one might otherwise suspect, that she'd grown up in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York, and that she was one of our contemporaries.
While it's true, New York State is a far piece from South Carolina, the longing she expresses is something many of us can understand.
PoetPerson disappeared from AOL some years ago, and today no one seems to know what happened to her. This is being posted without her permission (or that of her estate), because something this good shouldn't be forgotten.
by AOL's PoetPerson
In the unlikely event of a water landing
could we choose our water for descent?
Some who fled may wish to rise and soar
over half-forgotten highlands where trash bins
are printed with a quote from Henry's crew:
"A very pleasant place to build a town on."
None of us believed it in the sixties --
cynical youth bound to a small town,
our lives confined by the intrusive river.
One rolling bold meddler followed us
south to the city, north to the capital,
forced steamboat history for merit badges,
needed crossing to catch the Beacon train.
One highbrow gossip, patrician tattler,
a Benedict Arnold sort of channel
with its final flair at Palisades.
And which was more pretentious --
the river flanked with castles of
dubious antiquity or my classmates?
We abandoned the place, the minds, our parents,
and the busybody river.
We claim new rivers now:
Klamath, Potomac, Monogahela.
We need to be near water.
We hear Storm King, Sleepy Hollow,
Boscobel, Bear Mountain, and remember....
In the unlikely event of a water landing,
we might choose to float above Rhinebeck violets,
Highland Falls, the Catskills.
We would drift on valley gusts homeward,
lift our wings like renegade angels,
and ask the river to receive us once again.
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