Witness the River
Witness the river,
the way it whispers ancient words
spoken by slithering streams
and vast oceans.
Witness the loneliness of the river,
how it longs for you,
but can’t quite reach you.
Witness the strange power
flowing through you,
and brushing against your ankles—
something you can only feel
if you witness the river.
—Jake Soyars, 7th grade
Wick Juniors Writing Club, Kent, Ohio
Design: Rachel Slingluff, BFA ’17
This poem appears in Speak a Powerful Magic: Ten Years of the Traveling Stanzas Poetry Project (2019, The Kent State University Press), available for purchase online at www.kentstateuniversitypress.com.
Since July 2018, the Wick Poetry Center (as part of its River Stanzas: A Collective Dreaming of the Cuyahoga project) has been conducting a series of intergenerational community forums and conversations around the value of the Cuyahoga River in our lives and shared future.
On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire. It became a symbol for the environmental movement, and the crisis gave the country an opportunity to examine public environmental policies and our communities’ relationships with our planet.
June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River’s rebirth. In collaboration with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the City of Kent, and the Akron and Kent Public Schools, Wick Poetry Center’s outreach team has been leading field trips and workshops—“river walks” and “river talks”—celebrating its success and inspiring others to “dream the river” in its next 50 years.
—See www.travelingstanzas.com/river-stanzas for more information.
SHARE YOUR VOICE!
In partnership with the Wick Poetry Center, Kent State Magazine may feature your poem in a future issue. To submit your poem, visit travelingstanzas.com, click “Submit,” and label it “Magazine Entry.”