Joel Katz: A favorite poem

Wrong Side of the River
by Stanley Plumly

One of my favorite poems is Stanley Plumly’s  “Wrong Side of the River” from his book Now that My Father Lies Down Beside Me: New and Selected Poems 1970-2000. I’m struck by Plumly’s exactitude in describing a situation where  there is inexactness and doubt.

Joel Katz
Age 60
Computer software consultant
Palo Alto

Wrong Side of the River

I watched you on the wrong side
of the river, waving. You were trying
to tell me something. You used both hands
and sort of ran back and forth,
as if to say look behind you, look out
behind you.
I wanted to wave back.
But you began shouting and I didn’t
want you to think I understood.
So I did nothing but stand still,
thinking that’s what to do on the wrong side
of the river. After a while you did too.
We stood like that for a long time. Then
I raised a hand, as if to be called on,
and you raised a hand, as if to the same question.

Stanley Plumly

(note from Poet Laureate: I do hope you all take advantage of the links provided to learn more about each of these terrific poets and their poetry! ~Sally Ashton)


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