Port o potties, poetry and Pete : Read on….

I emerged from a port- o -potty near the main entrance gate for the 2013 Clearwater Revival festival, turned right to find my friend Susan and there he was right in front of me. I was in my 6th year working as an educator with the Clearwater land-based Tideline Discovery program and I had yet to meet Pete Seeger.

What do you say to Pete when you meet him? I thanked him for his dedication and then told him I worked with Tideline. He looked at me, smiled and said: “Good thing!”

There was something about his simple economy of words and the fact that we were both feet from a line of port o potties that seemed so right. So ordinary. So “we are in this together”. It all seemed to fit with the humane humility that Pete Seeger was known for.

Shortly after moving up to the Hudson Valley, after a hike along the west bank of the Hudson at Esopus Meadows- at the very spot where months later I would be part of a staff that introduces school groups to the workings and wonders of the Hudson- at the very spot that I had appropriated for my meditations and river gazing- at the very spot where the photo below was shot and where our school children learn to catch fish with seining nets- this short poem emerged.

This poem titled “Hudson Geese at Sunset” is now dedicated to Pete Seeger. If there ever was a true “Good thing!” Pete Seeger was it.

Hudson Geese at Sunset

As though the bell was rung by the master

cushions laid out

incense lit

temple doors closed

they settle on the skin of the water

wings tucked, necksImage folded

rising and falling

rising and falling

in soft, silent

repose.  ~~   Donna Sherman


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