South – Jack Gilbert

In the small towns along the river
nothing happens day after long day.
Summer weeks stalled forever,
and long marriages always the same.
Lives with only emergencies, births,
and fishing for excitement. Then a ship
comes out of the mist. Or comes around
the bend carefully one morning
in the rain, past the pines and shrubs.
Arrives on a hot fragrant night,
grandly, all lit up. Gone two days
later, leaving fury in its wake.

A girl in my first creative writing class wrote a poem called Heat that so accurately described this south that I love. And I stumbled across this Gilbert poem, which made me think of hers, for some reason. It captures our essence, I think. Somehow. There’s something intangible that makes the South…the South…and this touches it.  There’s something sad and beautiful in this South I love.

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