Posts Tagged ‘river’

Almost Imperceptible

The winter river
flows beneath
the ice,
then enters
low below
my thoughts,
its song
so slow
I almost miss
its strains,
how all is current—
dying, living,
gaining, losing,
forgetting and
how all is
all is

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All Is Water

One river gives
its journey to the next.
            —Alberto Ríos, “When Giving Is All We Have”

I thought it was I giving the journey to you.
You gave your journey to me.

I thought I was the head waters,
but I have become your tributary.

Now I carry your turbulence. I carry your calm.
I carry the waters of my own breaking.

A river follows the same changing course,
but the water moving through is always new.

Let’s name this river the river of sorrows.
Let’s name it the river of love.

New, is it any wonder I am startled by this journey?
Old, is it any wonder I am still longing to give?

Traveling these shores, there are moments
when I feel every other wave that has ever passed and

feel every wave that will ever be, and know
myself a share of something greater, something

generous that is always giving, something
ever borrowing from the current of the world.

*Title is a quote from Thaleus of Miletus

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Leaning in to Paradox

Tonight your sister and I
frosted the sugar cookies—
all the same shapes you’d remember:
stars and wreaths, angels and trees,
gingerbread men and sheep.
We made a rabbit into a Santa
and four gingerbread men
into Spiderman, complete
with red boots and large white eyes
and spiders on their chests.
And we laughed, deep muscled currents
of laughter. And I missed you.
Strange how even the happiest moments
are thirsty. Because of course
you are here in the red and green frosting,
here in the sweet mindless chatter,
here in the communion of sweet dough
and carols, and not here
in the chair beside me. There is
a calculus of thirst—the study
of continuous change in which
loving you is the constant.
This is the work of my life—
to love what is here, to love
what is not, and to learn how thirst,
too, is a tribute to the river.

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The Waking

When we wake, all people are rivers—
though some are torrents and some
mere trickles, though some break down
obstacles and some slowly meander.  
We move from our beds through the banks
of the world, our lives following the course
of the day. Our streams merge with the streams
of others. We are, every day, more each other
and still somehow ourselves. If only we could trust
our uniting currents as unthinkingly as the rivers
follow gravity—always with the least amount
of resistance. How long will we pretend
we are separate? How long before we find ourselves
joined in the communion of the sea, all our waters
one water, every waking an invitation.

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White Water

The day is a stream
and your love a blue canoe;
there are rapids
around the corner
and all I can do,
unskilled as I am
in reading the waves,
is paddle with fervor—
terror in my gut,
and this goofy smile
glued to my face.
Tomorrow, perhaps,
the stream will be calm,
but today
the white roar of chaos
crashes all around,
rocking and tossing.
It does no good to pretend
life is anything but what it is,
so I paddle, I scull,
and I may not be dry
but dang, I’ve never
been so alive, my arms,
dripping in diamonding light,
our lives at stake.  

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Even after all these years
of wandering this twisting path of self,
how is it I am still surprised
to find a new home inside the rush of river,
as if I haven’t been here
in this song of melting many times before?
How is it I forgot my home
inside the brittle brown grass of March,
home in the sweet moldering scent of spring,
home in the sun soaked day—
as if the great star of beginnings
is saying again to me, Come, friend.
How is it I sometimes forget to arrive
exactly where I am, especially in these days
when forgiveness arrives like the cranes
on great wings that charge the air.
These days when love comes crashing in
like western wind, breaking branches
and rearranging the yard, as if to say
it is here to change everything.
Sometimes I forget the world will find me
wherever I am and insist in the language
of willow and trunk and hawk and noon,
home, home, you are home.

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Tempted by Comparison

Today I know the self
as a stone in the stream—
everything around me rushing and quickening,
and me, a way to mark all this moving.
Amidst all the bubble and rush,
a stone has its own very slow journey,
and yet, there is no doubt
the stone belongs, is doing
exactly what a stone should do—
which is to be true to its stone-ness,
to know itself as a traveler, yes,
but also as an integral part of the path,
a model of consistency, seldom
in a hurry, inclined to show up
exactly where it is.

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The Defense

The part of me who fears being falsely accused
will do anything to defend herself—
build walls of words, make dams of truths,
construct barriers out of old conversations.
She has always been this way,
certain others are judging her.
Certain they find her at fault.
Certain she must protect herself.
I would like to take her for a walk
and show her how the ice on the river
is melting. How all winter long,
the river itself was the only thing
in its own way—impeding, constricting—
doing what rivers do in the cold.
Now that the cold recedes
the river is more open, more free.
I want her to smell that alive river scent
and know that she, too, can melt.
I want her to feel the freedom of warmth.
I want to tell her that sometimes
the best way to know the innocent self
is to let it run away.

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The river in autumn

is clear enough

to see the trout

who swim

in the deeper pools.

There are many ways

to speak.

This is one.

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Down by the river we sit and talk.

When I think I can’t ache any more,

the world serves more heartache.

And I meet it.

I say no, but I feel myself stretched

by some great invisible hand,

rendering me spacious enough to hold

what must be held.

When we rise to leave,

the river doesn’t stop.

Nor does the forgiving wind.

I swear I feel them move

right through me.

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