Posts Tagged ‘river’

A Tale of Two Dreams

I slipped into the river by choice
and the current did not steal me away.
All around me was golden light.
I pulled my hands through clear water,
then raised them to the sky,
To my surprise, I had gathered
from below the surface a shimmering amethyst glitter
now suspended and radiant in the air.
When I woke, I recalled a dream
from two years ago, such desperate days.
I’d fallen in the river by accident
and the current pulled me quickly from shore.
No choice but go through long rapids.
Muddy waves crashed over me.
Whirlpools pulled me down.
I knew it would be hard. I knew I could swim.
Oh, swimmer, you have been carried
by the waters that would drown you.
Great waves. Strong forces. The silt falling out.
Of course, you are weeping with grief, with wonder.

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Once Upon a Song

While dancing barefoot in wet grass
with the dark all around us and
the star-bright sky above
and a song in the air and joy
and sorrow crashing through me
in equal force, it is only now
with tears running down my face
I realize the tears themselves
are the river where I can lay down
my burdens, these tears are the stream
that will never run dry, these tears
are the river where I will again
and again and again return to pray,
Oh sister, let’s go down, come on down,
and Hallelujah, at last I know the river
is nowhere if not in my heart,
and if there’s a river here,
then every moment is a baptism,
every moment a chance to be lifted,
to be healed.

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Within minutes of weeping,
we are tossing rocks
into the river, the bigger
the splash, the larger
our laugh, and we toss
and we toss in a sweet
and urgent ritual of loss.
Slipping in the mud,
it feels right we should
lose our balance. What is
this life, after all, but a constant
slipping, a constant recalibrating,
a constant learning to find
new paths toward each other?
This life, it turns out,
is likely to pick us up
and throw us into the deep
to see what happens next.
But on this night,
we pick up more stones
and toss and toss and toss.
Not one of them floats.
But we do.

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            for Kathy Jepson who lives and works in the San Miguel River Canyon
Some people are rivers—
always moving, always in flow.
Wherever they are,
life flourishes. They nourish,
they support, they sustain,
and they change the shape
of the landscape—
carving new paths around obstacles,
softening what is sharp.
Some people are rivers—
the lifeblood of a valley.
Forceful at times,
at other times gentle,
but constant, so constant
you could take them for granted—
like a woman with a headset
and a clipboard,
a pencil tucked in her hair
standing behind a curtain
so others can shine.
Some people are rivers.
You know who they are
because all around them
everything is growing,
everything they touch.
And you realize you can’t imagine
being without them—
everywhere you look,
you see how quietly,
how powerfully
they have transformed the world.

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The shocking tender curl of him,
   wild river, raging, rush of him,
     the eddied, lazy swirl of Sunday
   morning sleepy smile of him,
the flood-stage leaping wave of him,
   high overflowing shores of him,
     torrential reckless course of him,
       now empty, unfilled banks of—
     dry barren rocky bed of—
   the utter lack of here of—
the pray-for-rain parched air of him,
   dark growing rain cloud storm of him,
     the sometimes-I-hear-rapids hum,
       deep currents in my lungs of him
         how is it I still breathe him in—
       the river is inside me hymn.

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Memory of sitting by the river,
you taking my picture,
the leaves around us
already changing—
you were happy that day,
camera in hand,
no hint of sorrow,
no augury of grief.
Oh, that beautiful day.
I fold it in half,
run my finger down the crease,
unfold it, rotate it ninety degrees
and fold it in half again.
In six more steps,
I’ve folded it neatly into a boat.
Someday, perhaps,
I will float it down the river.
Today, I tuck it
into my mind’s back pocket.
When I need to, I touch it,
run my fingers along the folds.
It carries me along
the current.

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for Finn (9/11/04-8/14/21)

I threw rocks in the river today.
Not because I thrill to throw rocks,
but because I love to remember
how you thrilled to throw rocks.
How you squealed at the spray
and clapped your hands at the sound
of the quiescent surface being broken.

Your joy was the pure joy of life itself,
life that knows itself through tossing,
through splattering, through squealing,
life that longs to stand on the bank
and throw rock after rock after rock.
Joy was never in the rock itself,
it wasn’t even in the splash,

nor is there joy in the rocks today.
But there is joy in feeling close to you here.
Joy in the memory of you being so alive.
Joy in remembering your smile,
your hands flying up in delight.
Joy, even, in the longing for you.
I throw rock after rock. I remember.

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She carries a vase
of delphiniums and daisies
and I carry a tune
and we toss them all
like wishes
into the river.
Some wishes
are more beautiful
for knowing they will never
come true.
When we are done
we hold hands in the twilight
and watch the last
of the flowers float
in the shimmering eddies.
This is the moment
I would not have known
to have wished for.
I lean into this moment.

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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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