Illinois River – a poem by Deborah Dawson

Illinois River

West Fork of the Illinois
Hisses as she sculpts the walls
of serpentine mineral into ravine or gorge.
Covered in a kaleidoscope weave of
fragrant Myrtle, pale-polished Madrone
Fir, Cedar and Pine-
Arboreal landings for Western Grey Squirrels
Sipping dew from Bryophytes swollen in the mist.

Green eyed lady dancing her way through drifts
of rosy Willow, Red Alder and Hazel-
Rippling past grey driftwood-
Cedar logs uprooted and torn
In the violent surge of winter storms,
Laying like giant bones abandoned.

Seeps and bogs of Darlingtonia Californica,
Cone flower and Rhododendron occidentale.
Home to Black Racers, Damselfly and Salamander.
Giant boulders softened by watery embraces,
Make drumming sounds, whispering ancient songs
Of sleek Salmon returning, Otters playing, Ravens soaring.
Native voices chanting like Cicada in the night.

Wild in December she licks and eats the earth.
A hungry beast that growls with rocks in her crop,
Always tumbling, rolling and ever grinding.
In Oregon’s summer heat
she becomes shallow pools filled with water skippers.


Deborah Dawson, native Southern Oregon Artist and Naturalist of 40 years paints watercolors that are passionate interpretations of nature and reflect her earth-based spirituality. Deborah loves using color and texture whether with words or pigment to express the subtle poetry of Oregon’s flora and fauna. The Artist has coined the phrase “Organic Design” which she has used for 20 years to describe her process.

Leave a Comment

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

You are commenting using your 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