Over the River

Happy Friday the 13th, everybody.  I’m not superstitious, but why is it that the printer is on the fritz today when I need to get my tax forms copied and out to the post?  Never mind.

I have selected another batch of photos from our camping trip to Wyalusing and found a way to tie in the NaPoWriMo poetry challenge as well.  I promise I’ll get to spelunking and sunsets, but not today.  Today, it’s about the river….or rivers, as the Wisconsin and the Mississippi meet up.  Riparian zones (as scientists call the interface between river or stream and land) are great habitats for lots of diverse flora and fauna.  I told you about the wild turkeys in my last post.  More majestic in flight and about the same size, I found turkey vultures (or buzzards) and a bald eagle also enjoying all the area has to offer.  Bluff skimming, aerial gliding and diving, wind surfing…I think it would just be a blast to be one of the soaring carnivores.  You have to forgive me for not being equipped with the kind of camera equipment that can capture some of that flight.  Imagine instead that a swift shadow passes your peripheral vision, and you instinctively look upward, like any small mammal might.  Your gaze follows this heavenly creature until the last feather passes from view, and you realize you’ve forgotten to breathe.  They do that to me.  I don’t even think about trying to take a photo.   I also didn’t photograph the little field mouse we saw on the path we had just trekked a few minutes ago.  It wasn’t there the first time around.  It was obviously dead, but not marked or chewed.  My guess is that it was a fresh catch that got accidentally dropped from the height of flight and left for lost.  That picture stays in my mind only, out of respect.

The poetry prompt for today is to compose a “ghazal”Here’s the description from the NaPoWriMo site:

This is an old Persian form of poetry, and rather strange if you’re used to European meter-and-rhyme forms. A ghazal is made of couplets. Traditionally, the the two lines of the first couplet end with the same word or phrase, and then that same word/phrase is used to end the second line of each succeeding couplet. All of the lines are supposed to be of about the same length, although there is no formal meter or syllable count. If you want to get super traditional/technical, the last couplet is supposed to refer to the poet, either by name, or through some kind of allusion.

Photos first, I think, then the poem.  Hope you enjoy!

High up on the hilltop, the breeze makes me shiver

Pushing cloud shadows gracefully over the river.


On invisible gusts, buzzards hover, each feather an instrument

Tuned to the wind, sailing the currents here over the river.


Spring greening the banks, sheltered nests in the reeds,

Weeping willows’ and cottonwoods’ pollen and seeds cover the river.


A sand bar glows golden, inviting for rest any swimmers

Grown weary in late evening’s quest to cross over the river.


As the light glances, changing mood, color and hue, I am breathless

And dreamy, entranced. Miss Priscilla, in awe, can’t get over the river.

13 thoughts on “Over the River

  1. I can’t get over the river either and I don’t want to !! Beautiful, beautiful photographs…if I had to pick the top, 2nd and 3rd are my favourites.. great job Scilla… your photography just keeps on improving.. Oh and I enjoyed the poem too 😀

  2. Thanks! I did have to adjust for so much bright sunlight. My little Lumix seems to wash everything out these days. I wonder…do those digital sticks have “age limits” or something? I’m using one I got from Steve’s aunt, and it’s been erased and erased a bunch of times. Do you know anything about that?

    • I don’t know much about technical stuff Scilla !! Try to find a Lumix forum online, most makes of camera have them.. I doubt you have a manual do you? Also do you reformat the memory card every time after you’ve downloaded the photos? I did pay for quite good quality memory cards. Do you just use the camera on automatic settings? Youtube often have little instruction videos that can help. I’ve learnt loads from them.. Hope one of these suggestions helps!

  3. Mom. these pictures are awesome! I have…riparian envy! Also, having never heard of the “ghazal” form, I find it’s offbeat (or at least non-European) cadence more poetic, for lack of a better description. I really need to start writing more!

    • I would love to see you try some of these poetry challenges; I’d be most interested in the results! Speaking of results, any news from the farm? Glad you stopped by to see the shots. More to come, I promise!

  4. In India, ghazals are sung and traditionally are all about love and the pain & longing of separation. It is the preferred form for Sufi poet mystics (Rumi, Hafiz) and has such a rich tradition that I am utterly daunted by the challenge. My response was to go full-blown emo and throw my standards to the winds. Here my ghazal, though to really enjoy it, you have to pretend it is being sung in Urdu.

    Wind whips back the shutters of my turbulent heart
    Its laughter a cold echo in my turbulent heart

    Blind will brewed up trouble right from the start
    No faith yet could bind my turbulent heart

    Failing to practice uxorious art
    Desire has its way in my turbulent heart

    Unaware of my sorrow, my companions depart
    No balm there to comfort my turbulent heart

    While I bleed from raw wounds, drawn from solitude’s dart
    I’m bathed by the fury of my turbulent heart

    I drink down life’s flavor, the sweet and the tart
    Seduced to its beauty by my turbulent heart

    Fear not, says the poet, the truth that thou art
    For an ocean of love swells your turbulent heart.

    • Wow! I can tell that this type of poem is quite familiar to you. Beautiful flow. I have a well-bookmarked book of poems by Hafiz, but I don’t remember any of them being this long or structured. Well worth exploring more deeply. 🙂

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