Dispatch from Planet Drum Foundation’s Northeast (USA) Tour

October 2-23, 2005

During October, 2005, Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft traveled in the Northeast giving talks, workshops and performances at universities and for community groups. After they returned Peter wrote this poem as a report from the trip. 

Hudson Loan

by Peter Berg

Creditor Manhattan’s glazed lip at the mouth
a widening snake from forty story windows.
Sailing sediment and a pizza stand
through granite bedrock and Jersey Palisades.
Stained ocean tankers thread upstream
slow as tenements.

Multimillion gallon river
multimillion trees coining multibillion leaves
chartreuse, yellow, orange, pink, red, scarlet, purple
tallied by white lines of birches and dark evergreens.

Two gravities collide 3PM at Saugerties Lighthouse
raising the river a human’s height.
Downhill-running Hudson meets Atlantic’s tidal strength.
Stops. Whirlpools turn.
Surface borne green branch is motionless,
floating ducks paddle in circles,
small bass leap into flotsam scented air
from their fifty feet deep aquarium.

“If you put a canoe adrift upriver at Troy
it would take 126 days to reach New York Harbor,”
says lighthouse keeper Patrick, “drifting forward and
retreating again.”

Multimillion months of sawing banks
bridged and cabled under streak gray clouds
geese bleating above ship fog horns.
Multimillion people borrow Hudson
river always presses back.

At midnight we barge passengers across
embracing laugh buoyed
high white harvest moon pulling
smooth thick black water pushing
powerful without menace.


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