Rapture in Rivertown

With January’s ice-scrim mist,
this riverside neighborhood
turns back to photo proof
black, white and gauzy gray.
Holiday colors have faded
like mid-September memories.
Tinder-dry evergreens,
erstwhile harlequin-lit window beacons
for passing ice-breakers,
now lie prostrate on streetside,
snow-dusted Christmas gravestones,
waiting for the herald crash
of the trash collecting Rapture.
And the perennial trees
standing sentinel nearby
at snow-footed attention,
look like lean black guardsmen,
their uniforms on backorder

until a too faraway Spring.

This poem came from my walks and runs along the Hudson shore over the past 20 years. During the holidays, you could see the gumdrop-lit Christmas trees in windows over in Rensselaer. By early January, they were gone, the snow had come and the ice had choked the river. “Rivertown Rapture” is what I recall and imagine of those days.

32 thoughts on “Rapture in Rivertown

  1. Love the way you captured this, can picture it so vividly. Like Brian, I too like the image of sentinel guardsmen, uniforms on backorder until too faraway Spring. It certainly feels that way in the throes of icy January! Enjoyed this a lot, reminds me of my area of New England.

  2. wow. tis bleak indeed. an ironic peace, tongue & cheek, and imagistic piece gainsay on 'rapture'…cause it's end-of-life stuff.funny how quick the turn….holiday spirit to grim.then hope of spring. hope the black guardsmen get their uniforms…they have a chance…they passed Xmas safely.

  3. wonderful imagery in this seasonal piece. some really dazzling word choices throughout. love these lines–With January's ice-scrim mist, this riverside neighborhood turns back to photo proof black, white and gauzy gray.nicely penned Joseph — C.

  4. Nice write, Joe. Love these lines…this riverside neighborhoodturns back to photo proofblack, white and gauzy gray.Holiday colors have fadedlike mid-September memories. Great capture!

  5. The holidays have gone and now winter has settled in – you paint a beautiful and poignant picture with strong images – like Jannie I was completely swept away by this poem

  6. Oh, roll on Spring..warm to warm….love the images in this though…the trees standing to snow-footed attention…wonderful imagery & you capture the post Christmas mood so well…hugs to you, dear friend xo

  7. Love love love ice-scrim mist. What a way to start! And then you followed with imagery that took me deeper into rivertown, tinder-dry, harlequin-lit, sentinal. Gorgeous work. My favorite word… erstwhile. Love the sound of erstwhile. Fabulous, Joe.

  8. I was trying to think of a word that fully expressed how much I loved this poem; I think the word is perfection, because you've created a perfect literary snapshot of exactly what a town is like just after Christmas. The trees 'uniforms on back-order' is superb!

  9. Loved the imagery and colours in this. It reminded me of scenes from BIG – seeing the trees across the Hudson. Must be very very FINE to spend the seasons there! Lovely.

  10. standing sentinel nearbyat snow-footed attention,and the Rapture the trash collector brings! Really enjoyed this poem of a town that needs to sigh and rest after all the festivities. I feel kind of like that. 🙂

  11. Densely packed with images and associations..the dulled tones of early January. Somehow these lines make a strong impression:waiting for the herald crash of the trash collecting Rapture.Juxtapositions jingling emotively in my head. Very much like the whole thing Joe… and must say I am enjoying the Dubai sun (Ok hit me..)

  12. Wonderful, Joe: ) You capture the comfort of living in one place for many years. It's expected habits and regularities, such as my favourite line: 'waiting for the herald crash of the trash collecting Rapture'…I just love that! Thank you for taking me on the river journey…-Eva

  13. Man spring is definitely too far away! I love the way you captured the "after Christmas" feeling…my favorite line : "snow-dusted Christmas gravestones"

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