After Donald Hall and his horses
Theodela, Vianen, Maersk, Werner Reich, Votesse, Synthesis 6,
Rhinekrone, Andrea II, Inversa, AnneRose, Mejora, Rhemus.
Like Mark Twain in his Heidelberg hat at the controls,
Captain Greta guides the ship with the current seaward,
Her vessel overloaded with the fraught freight of all of us,
Pushing past Twain’s quaint Rhine Gorge of castles and traces
Of pirate toll-takers, past the ramparts and princess spires,
Just not funny these days, not a distraction that Greta
Can abide, all business as she strikes forward, using nature
To reveal Nature and yelling at us from her wheelhouse,
“The house is on fire!” (unsaid, You stupid old fools!).
Marcona, Kohl-Düsseldorfer, Hyundai, Tramp, Inga II, Valetta,
Oscar Wilde Basel, Amakristina, Ella Rotterdam, Evident, Till.
And the barges line up behind her lead, heading away
From the highlands and towards open water where hot cargo
Can be cooled and cleaned by windmills and salted water,
The lock-tenders alerted to the convoy, the water levels enough
This summer to satisfy the pilots, not like last July when boys
Played football in the dry bed, the expensive tours cancelled,
The burning air killing the weak and poor in Strasbourg,
Before the Yellow Vests in Paris streets said, We can’t worry that
The world’s ending when we try to live to the end of the month.
Lorely Elegance, Adrian Marktheidenfeld, Chateau Chalon, Stolt Maas,
Terra Nova, Virginia, Springer, Gerhard Schmitter, Ina, Damina-K.
Paul Marion is the author of “Union River: Poems and Sketches” (Bootstrap Press, 2017) and “Mill Power” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), and editor of Jack Kerouac’s early writing, “Atop an Underwood” (Viking/Penguin, 1999). He lives in Amesbury, Mass.