The Language of Water

by Jane Yolen

Soft as a rill in drought season,
Pounding as the falls when salmon,
in their great anxiety, try to fly.
The rounded vowels, that meander
of a meadow brook.
Flail of waves on the shore
mixed with the wounded cries of gulls.
Soft burring of the r’s in the kettle boil
of water over river stones.
Whisper of a pond’s edge.
The insistence of rain on a roof.
If you do not listen,
you cannot hear.
There is a story in water;
I have waited all my life
to learn the variants of its tale.

Copyright © 2018 by Jane Yolen


Featured Poet of the Month Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 360 books, including OWL MOON, THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC, SISTER EMILY’S LIGHTSHIP, and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT. The books range from rhymed picture books and baby board books, through middle grade fiction, poetry collections, nonfiction, and up to novels and story collections for young adults and adults. Her books, stories, and poems have won an assortment of awards—two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott Medal, the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, the Rysling Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among many others. She was the first woman to give the St. Andrews University’s Andrew Lang lecture since the lecture series was started in 1927. She was also the first writer to win the Arts and Humanities award given by the New England Public Radio. A past president of SFWA, she is a World Fantasy Grand Master and a Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Also worthy of note, her Skylark Award—given by NESFA, the New England Science Fiction Association, set her good coat on fire. If you need to know more about her, visit her website at: www.janeyolen.com.