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Posts Tagged ‘river’

Perspective

 

 

I’ve got a wide, a wide river to cross.

            —“Wide River to Cross” by Julie Miller, Steven P. Miller

 

 

Perhaps when the river

we must cross is so wide

and the journey

to just to get to the river is so long

that our legs and arms are weary

before we even reach the shore,

perhaps that is when

it helps to remember

that the heart is infinite

in how much it can love,

and dang if that journey

across the river

doesn’t seem all that far

after all and the body

shudders and trembles

finds a way to take

one more step, and

one more step.

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Two Marvelings

 

 

 

just another full moon rise—

is it any wonder

I can’t stop bowing?

 

*

 

how, I said,

to the river bed

do you make

of yourself a home?

I let the flow shape me,

the river bed said—

flood, current,

shimmer, stone

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Five Currents

 

 

 

choked with ice

the river impedes itself—

I catch myself

thinking

it is beautiful

 

*

 

why dream

of unrestricted days

says the part of me

that stands

in my way

 

 

*

 

love, let us

be naked together—

how did we ever

get fooled that we

are not enough?

 

*

 

dark current

its edges invisible—

just because

we can’t see the path

doesn’t mean it isn’t there

 

*

 

a lifetime,

not long enough

to watch the river move across itself

and still this moment

holds everything

 

 

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It’s true, sometimes the river can’t be wide enough
between me and you. God knows it’s cold in there.
And deep. And full of secrets I don’t ever want to know.

And that old bridge joining us, sometimes I pray it falls.
Tell myself it’s better that way, what, with you over there
and no way to get over here except to swim—and I know

you won’t do that. Yeah, I say, it’s better that way,
you and me just keeping our distance. In fact,
sometimes I pretend it’s gone already, that old bridge.

But then next thing I know, I’m making up smoke signals
to say hey, there’s a really pretty light on the water tonight,
and hey, I’m wishing you would tell me that story again, the one

your mama used to tell to you when you were scared.
And that’s when I know that if that bridge collapsed,
well, I would build a new one with all my resources—

my stubbornness, my hope, my hands. It is hard
to build a bridge out of stubbornness and hope.
But I would. Sometimes it’s all we have.

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We were better at it then.
On the muddy desert river
in our yellow rubber boat,
you would sit in front
and I would sit in back
and as our bow
would slide onto the glossy
slick tongue of the rapid,
we’d begin to sing.
Opera. Neither of us
knew a thing about opera,
except that it made us feel
invincible to sing the highest
notes we could hit and to hear
each other trilling just above
the white roar. We thrilled
at the edge of chaos. Joy
in our ignorance. Confusion
did not seem to have the same
bite it does now when you call
me to say the surgery is Wednesday
and you’ll know then if the three tumors
are malignant. I do not sing
when you tell me. Nor after we hang up,
unless you call whimpering song.
Which perhaps it is, though I do not
feel brave, standing on the edge
of this new chaos, you in front
again, this current much stronger
than we can paddle against. I feel
our humanity, how the end is all
wrapped up in the middle,
the beginning, how little we know
and how fragile we are. I look
out the skylight at the buds
on the cottonwood trees.
They are swelling, though not
yet green. They do not resemble
what they will become,
but experience tells us
to expect a bright green unfurling.
We have no experience now
with what comes next. But we
do know how to sing a high warble,
trill it high above the hospital hum.
I am rusty, but mustering the voice
to sing to you from here,
even though I no longer believe
it will keep us from sinking.

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Release

Something softens when we enter the flow.
—Joi Sharp

Not that I didn’t try to find the shore.
I scraped at the stones, grasping as I passed,
clawing until my fingers bled. Not that I didn’t try
to stall in the eddy where I spiraled down,
down. I tried. I tried. What if, instead, I had
fallen in love with the angry swirl, fallen in
love with the waves’ white froth, fallen in love
with the chill, the roil. It did not last, the chaos. It delivered
me to the warm quiet water that also did not last.
At one point, though, it happened, through no effort
of my own, the small unvoice in me began to whisper,
world I love you, world I love you, world I love
you I said to the rocks, to the shore, to the heron
standing in the center of the stream as I passed.

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Going In

The way the river meets our bodies,
meet me that way. Though I resist,

surround me. Rush to me. Lick me.
Drench me. Insist. Touch me

everywhere at once. Float me.
Don’t care about my name. Always

leaving me, always arriving.
Bring me news of the sky.

Shine me. Glisten me. Shiver me. Hush.
Bring me the moon. Bring hum.

Wet me. Wake me. The years go by.
We are more ourselves and less.

Meet me the way the river meets
our bodies, with infinite tongues,

none of them thirsty, all of them
curious. Surprise me with your

strength, your pull. Say nothing.
Meet me. My hands are stone.

Erode me. Soften me. Release me
in you. You stretch in both directions

as far as I can see.

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