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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Elizabeth Cunningham

Ribia O’Loren



She tells me:

a woman is a river.

Move like the river

hand over hand

hip to hip, current

flowing downriver

tide riding in.


She tells me:

the women come down

to the river with the new babies

they sing this song:


river of milk

river of sky

river of milk

river of sky

my breast is full as the river

mist on the mountain

milk of the river

river of milk

river of sky

river of milk

river of sky


She tells me:

a song or a story

is just as useful as a basket

song and stories are baskets

they hold things

for the people.


She tells me:

watch the tides

the tides take you

where you need to go

the tides tell you

all you need to know.


She tells me:

the river is a reason

to have a party

we are always crossing the river

to pick whatever is in season

on this side, that side

we always have a party.


She tells me:

the river is a reason

to take a lover

from the other shore.


She tells me:

listen to the river stones

when the waves wash in

when the tide turns

they are talking

they are telling secrets

they will tell you

what you need to know



She tells me:

time is a tidal river

you can travel

either way.



Author Biography:

Elizabeth Cunningham is a Fellow of Black Earth Institute. She is the author of The Maeve Chonicles, a series of novels featuring the Celtic Mary Magdalen who is nobody’s disciple. She has also published three previous novels and two collections of poetry. Director of The Center at High Valley and a counselor in private practice, she lives in New York State’s Hudson River Valley.


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