Poems from the Sourlands – Down by the River by Gretna Wilkinson

Recently the Sourland Conservancy hosted a Train Station Seminar titled “Cool Women Poetry Reading”.  The Cool Women Poets read poems that they wrote about the Sourlands and their words deeply moved me.  I asked them if they would share their poetry with me so I could share it with you.  The first poem I would like to share is titled “Down by the River” by Gretna Wilkinson.

I was at Otto Farm Preserve on Monday (blog post coming soon!) and I hadn’t looked at the map before I started my walk.  I didn’t realize that there was a stream there, but as I wandered along the path I heard water flowing over rocks and this poem jumped in my head.  I started searching for a place to move through the brush to see the water.  There is something so soothing and refreshing about the sound of flowing water that whenever I hear it, I must find it.


Down By The River
Gretna Wilkinson

Week after week I come

to my best friendly rock

at the edge of this water,

scrub dirt out of clothes

frustrations out of me


This rock holds up

under the weight of my worries

without judgement, without echo


There’s no sound more beautiful

than the river rushing by

minding its own business.


Gretna Wilkinson was born and raised in Guyana, South America, and began her teaching career as a missionary teacher in the jungles there. Her full-length collection is entitled Opening the Drawer (Cool Women Press). She has also published five chapbooks. Dodge Poet, she was recently named Monmouth County Arts Educator of the Year and is Red Banks Teacher of the Year.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s