The River Wye Your stroll beside the stream has stayed with me, Has left me in my loneliness with strength Enough to face the world, to somehow see Within its depth and width and wandering length The Truth that Keats and Coleridge saw with eyes Romantic yet as real as river stones That roll the water, washing clean the lies That cling like greed to human flesh and bones. Your words, worth all the days and nights I spend In contemplation seeking my own worth, Are currents catching me each time I bend My back to labor, sifting through the Earth You sorted for me walking by the Wye, In lines admiring how instead of why. The Greatest Wall of China When commerce comes before the human soul, And speech is caged and liberty’s confined, While privacy’s imprisoned by a goal That values money more than any mind Where freedom is the currency of choice, Then more is ruined than the land and air— Pollution stains the hopeful heart and voice That speaks against oppression everywhere; It stains the fabric stitched by brotherhood And builds the kind of thick restrictive wall That harbors hate, restraining all the good We’d have to share if only walls could fall. When politics make bricks of helping hands, The worst and highest wall of all still stands. Nuclear Thinking Explain this lie if you can To Ukraine and to Japan How “safe” and “cheap” are terms that fit Between the gap when atoms split, The long-term wasteland left behind By the plans of a short-term mind, The daft irradiated leap That’s in fact neither safe nor cheap. Interpretation One night I and a thinking friend Walked out to the beach’s end. The moonlit shore on which we walked Inspired us as we talked, Expressing our philosophies About mountains, moons, and seas. We were not so different in our views, But it’s human nature to refuse To accept an object that we see As being what another claims it to be. So the mountain remained a mountain still, Though he insisted it was a hill. And still the waves were constant in motion As I argued sea and he argued ocean. So we walked back resolved to naught, Still thinking but with no change of thought. He never listened but his verse flowed fine, And while he spoke his, I heard mine. Mike Ruskovich lives in Grangeville, Idaho. He taught high school English for thirty-six years. He and his wife have four children. Featured Image: "The River Wye at Tintern Abbey," 1805, by Philip James de Loutherbourg.