By Madalene Smith
Morgan DePue, a senior sustainable development major, was the winner of this year’s Sherry Pruitt Poetry Contest. The Lincolnton native attributes her successful submission to the fusion of her passions for both sustainability and poetry.
DePue’s poem, “Continuum: A River Prayer,” was an assignment for her creative writing class but was centered around the concept of river continuums which she learned from Lecturer Laura England’s Science for Sustainability class. The cyclical natural concept of river continuums matched perfectly with the repetitious rhyme scheme required for the assignment.
“I also tried to balance the dangers posed to freshwater with the hope of regeneration and resiliency innate to the river continuum,” she said of her work. Read DePue’s poem below.
Continuum: A River Prayer
Even the smallest mountain stream is a capillary
flowing with life, feeding the complexity of this system.
The tectonic shift of these hills was shaped by the softness of streams
with trees feeding creeks, feeding rivers, feeding oceans, a continuous continuum
of flowing life. Feeding the complexity of this system
with each limb a lifeline transmitting all that goes into it as
a continuous continuum of trees feeding creeks, feeding rivers, feeding oceans.
All given back to the heavens, returned to Earth in rain.
With each limb transmitting all that goes into it, this lifeline turns
toxic when we let runoff run with biocides and microbeads flow to the seas.
Water returns to the atmosphere, returns to Earth as rain
while the riverbed has trouble resting and sea-life stills because
We let runoff run with biocides and microbeads flow to the seas, turning waters toxic.
Algae blooms in bloody roses over gills now gasping for air
until the sea falls far too still. Now the riverbed has trouble resting while
silt blankets the stone homes of crayfish, Pompeii under water.
As gills gasp for air through algae bloomed in bloody roses
know: this doesn’t have to be the final prayer for the creeks, the rivers, the oceans.
The silt blanketing the stone homes of crayfish, Pompeii under water,
can be unearthed and hope restored through nature’s natural resilience.
Just know, this doesn’t have to be the final prayer for the oceans, the rivers, the creeks,
and the vital capillaries of the smallest mountain streams.
Hope can be unearthed through restoration and nature’s natural resilience,
in the same slow way the streams softly shaped the tectonic shift of these hills.