The Great River

This morning
the river is a temptress
slowly undulating from beneath a veil,
diaphanous with a hint  of mystery.
She is a vixen, this Ohio.

Tomorrow she will be
a tramp once more, a victim
of circumstance. Oil slicked
even though the mills are stilled;
she stays in step with the twisting shore.

Do your dance, lovely river,
and when the barges spill their bilge
in tidal roll, know that we remember you
as the face of morning with a song in your heart
and the sun shining on your soul.


The Ohio River received its English name from the Iroquois word, “O-Y-O,” meaning “the great river“. One of the first Europeans to see the Ohio River was Frenchman Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1669. He named the river “la belle riviere” or “the beautiful river.”

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