Poetry: Laurentian Divide

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any poetry. While I’ve been working on some poems from this summer, I haven’t been able to push through to finish them. So, I decided to post one that I’ve been working on, but don’t feel is quite where I want it with hopes that I can break through toward writing more, rather than obsessing more. I think it was William Stafford who strove to write a poem a day. Sure, he knew that many of them were not his best work, but he figured that even if he wrote 1o bad ones for every good one, he’d still come away with over 30 really good poems a year, which isn’t bad. And he knew the more he wrote, the better the ratio.

So here’s a poem about the less than towering Laurentian Divide in northern Minnesota that shunts water either toward the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay. I’m fascinated by the idea of watersheds, about there being an actual invisible line in the sand that forces water to go one direction or the other. A lot of life’s experiences are like that, too. Often unnoticed, yet sometimes definitive.

The Laurentian Divide

A drop of rain falling on damp earth
yields to a pull that sorts and gathers,

a lonely prodigal returns to the
restless, swelling throng.

And so, for me during a hike
through the woods north of Duluth.

After one step, imperceptibly, my
body stops rising from Lake Superior,

the Sault, the St. Lawrence River,
and begins to fall toward the vast

coldness of Hudson Bay;
the rise of the land behind

greater than the path ahead.

Persistently, slowly the earth’s
massive hub calls us home.

© Steve Peterson

2 thoughts on “Poetry: Laurentian Divide

  1. I love watersheds and continental divides, too! I’m jealous that you have experienced a north/south one. I’ve only collected east/west ones…so far…or at least that I’m aware of!

    Great poem. Love the ending.

    • Ah, but Mary Lee, the east-west ones you’ve seen have been big-big-big! I’m thinking of the one that goes through Colorado. That’s pretty good sized! 🙂

      The ones in my neck of the woods are not so big, yet they still do the trick of parting the waters so to speak.

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