Web Exclusive: “River on Fire” by Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas

Finally, before we hear about our finalists I want to read a poem for everybody who’s here and in the audience who is not a finalist — not today, anyway. I’m from a place, as I mentioned, known rather for our disappointments. And I also know, as anybody does who’s here who has tried to put their work into the world in some way, whether it’s as a poet as a reader, as an actor — whatever life path you’ve chosen you have faced more disappointments than more successes. And for those of you disappointed today this is a poem about keeping going through all of that as I know you will. “River on Fire” Stranger, the way of the world is crooked and anything can burn. Nothing impossible Who comes to send fire upon the earth may find as much already kindled may find his city bister and sulfurous pitched and grimed. On those suffered banks, we sat down and wept. There the prophets, if there had been prophets would have baptized us in fire. Who says impossible they fill his mouth with ash they quench him as if a man could be made steel. A crooked way the world wends and the rivers and the prophets. Go down and tell them what you have seen that the river burned and was not consumed. APPLAUSE

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