The River

By Gregory Orr b. 1947 Gregory Orr
I felt both pleasure and a shiver
as we undressed on the slippery bank
and then plunged into the wild river.

I waded in; she entered as a diver.
Watching her pale flanks slice the dark
I felt both pleasure and a shiver.

Was this a source of the lake we sought, giver
of itself to that vast, blue expanse?
We’d learn by plunging into the wild river

and letting the current take us wherever
it willed. I had that yielding to thank
for how I felt both pleasure and a shiver.

But what she felt and saw I’ll never
know: separate bodies taking the same risk
by plunging together into the wild river.

Later, past the rapids, we paused to consider
if chance or destiny had brought us here;
whether it was more than pleasure and a shiver
we’d found by plunging into the wild river.

Gregory Orr, “The River” from The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (2002: Copper Canyon Press, 2002). www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Gregory Orr b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Love, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Desire, Heartache & Loss

 Gregory  Orr

Biography

The author of more than 10 collections of poetry and several volumes of essays, criticism, and memoir, Gregory Orr is a master of the short, personal lyric. His poetry has been widely anthologized and translated into at least 10 languages. Observes critic Hank Lazer, “From Burning the Empty Nests (1973) to the present, Orr gradually developed the ability to fuse his incredible skill at visual precision—the signature of his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Love, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Desire, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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