The Prince of Rivers

In the land of rivers I was the prince of rivers.
In the land of houses I lived in a thousand houses.
In the land of scattered bones my bones were scattered

by worshipful princes who carried each one like a scepter.
I was there and a breeze eddied around me.
In the land of questions I was the subject of questions.

I’m sorry what was lost was found utterly changed.
I could see through the sky and bring down the lonely stars.
When I was happy, lambs were born. They stood up

enacting their first dance of balance. In the land of frost
I was never cold. A warm breeze eddied around me.
When I thundered the sky tore like paper. Beyond the sky

the sky tore and rain fell into the moon’s dark holes.
In the land of eagles I received messages from eagles.
I’m sorry the moon is a fake gray plate. I’m sorry the day

is so dark. In the land of the future I saw men of stone.
When I was sad all the seas swelled. The islands
were swallowed and forgotten; books were drenched and forgotten.

When I was old my hair was as long as my story.
I’m sorry the branch bearing fruit is so high.
When I was young trees arched toward me like I was the sun.

I’m sorry the dead are quiet as ash. I’m sorry what’s left is so cold.
I knew I could escape through a hole in the sky. Wherever
I wept thick stalks grew. I knew I could weep for a long time to come.

by Craig Morgan Teicher

‘The Prince of Rivers’ is copyright © Craig Morgan Teicher and BOA Editions, 2012, and reprinted from To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012).

Notes from BOA Editions:

Inspired by Robert Lowell’s Life Studies, Craig Morgan Teicher’s To Keep Love Blurry is an exploration of the charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people: husbands and wives, parents and children, writers and readers. These poems include sonnets, villanelles, and long poems, as well as two poetic prose pieces, all meditating on the relationship between truth and art. As a son becomes a husband and then a father, Teicher expertly probes a life recast as poetry, with poems that long to leap into the lives of their subjects.

Craig Morgan Teicher is a poet, critic, freelance writer, and poetry editor and director of digital operations at Publishers Weekly. His first book of poems, Brenda Is In The Room And Other Poems, was chosen by Paul Hoover as winner of the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry and was published by the Center for Literary Publishing. Cradle Book (BOA, 2010) was his first collection of short stories and fables. You can read another selection from Teicher’s latest collection of poetry, To Keep Love Blurry, at BOA’s website here, learn more about Teicher from his website, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and watch him read from his work in these YouTube videos.

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