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"The River at Wolf"

by Jean Valentine

Coming east we left the animals
pelican beaver osprey muskrat and snake
their hair and skin and feathers
their eyes in the dark:  red and green.
Your finger drawing my mouth.

Blessed are they who remember
that what they now have they once longed for.

A day a year ago last summer
God filled me with himself, like gold, inside,
deeper inside than marrow.

This close to God this close to you:
walking into the river at Wolf with
the animals. The snake's
green skin, lit from inside.  Our second life.


Jean Valentine "The River at Wolf" searches for the sacred and places it within the self, as a "second life" glowing within.

Jean Valentine was named the State Poet of New York in 2008, a tribute to her long residence in New York City. Her first book, Dream Barker and Other Poems, won the 1965 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

"The River at Wolf," from The River at Wolf © 1992 by Jean Valentine, used by permission of the author and Alice James Book.