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Poem: The Housatonic at West Cornwall

“There’s no tonic like the Housatonic.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Shadowed by green humped hills,
anglers cast into riffles
and pocket-water where trout
linger among rocks, rising for flies
with concentric ripple kisses.
Carefully they wade over cobbles
as swallow acrobats dart
and swoop for insects.

Absorbed in the swash and roll
of the river as it seethes beneath
the barn-red covered bridge,
they briefly awaken to the rhythmic
rumble of tires on dry boards.

Occasionally they pull magic
from the water like a dream hauled
from the depths of sleep, glistening
silver, rainbowed or stippled in lucent
pink, orange and yellow.

But every shining, defiant beauty
is returned before drowning in air,
as PCBs secretly poison sediments
where the miracle electric age chemical
bringing “good things to life” lies
layered like fossils, marking a time
when fish were turned to forbidden
fruit contaminated by knowledge.

Image Credits: Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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