Tuesday, March 21, 2017

River Lore

image from npr.org

River Lore

“A good river is nature’s life work in a song.”
--Mark Helprin

It is fascinating
to hike up into the glaciers
& visit the deep alpine lakes
that constitute watery wombs
for the divers icy creeks,
born to sprint downhill
toward their erotic
rendezvous with a river.

They say
that even the mightiest
of rivers--the Columbia,
                     Yangtze &
just single-mindedly flows
from its source to the sea,
and that regardless
of its strength,
it cannot return
to that source
as easily as we can
to our own--and yet

in my view, a river
ever recycling,
ever reinventing itself,
does not think of tomorrow
or dote upon its yesterdays;
for it flows only in the Now,
rushing headlong toward the sea
in order to embrace saline & change.

If it has its own version of a soul,
some metaphysical consciousness,
it remembers its past journey
as it peers into the clouds
and prepares itself
for winged transport
back to another beginning,
a new journey,
a new Now.  


I always feel sad
while in the midst
of a desert trek, 
and I come upon
a phantom rivers’ dry bed imprint
sculpted into the hot sand.
Where did it go?
Why did it leave?
When will it return?

In America’s Southwest,
during rain torrents,
there often are river demons whelped--
flash floods--born as innocent
as black butterflies, sharing
a short life, but adopting the guise
of water-borne behemoth,
eager to wreak havoc
and drown old people
in their classic Cadillacs.

“I have great wealth, yet I am poor--
because I am a river to my people”
--Anthony Quinn 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub


Xenia said...

This is beautiful Glenn and I do believe rivers have their own version of a soul :o)

Anonymous said...

This is a fabulous read Glenn. I love the exploration into the consciousness of the river. I too think that they are beings in their own right and have both intelligence and soul. Thank You so much for sharing your deeply thoughtful writing for this prompt.

brudberg said...

Yes we had the same though here, the river being both its movement and the stillness. But then there are the desert ones that are born only when it rains.

Grace said...

They are magnificent rivers, ever flowing towards the sea ~ I feel sadness too when I see the dry phantom of what was once a river, filled with life ~

indybev said...

Your poem is a fascinating read ... the kind to which I want to return again and again. The river's current carries a multitude of stories. Thank you for this.

Frank Hubeny said...

I liked the idea of a creek making an erotic rendezvous with the larger river.

Kim M. Russell said...

Where do you find all the wonderful quotes, Glenn? I've not come across this one before:
“A good river is nature’s life work in a song.”
--Mark Helprin

I love the fluidity of your poem, the wetness and splashiness of it, the chill of the glaciers and the deep alpine lakes - watery wombs - and the way it meanders!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is beautiful! Your verse flows as though a river itself ❤️

Amaya said...

Are you a student of Hesse's Siddhartha? Beautiful contemplation, and I agree with you especially about the "erotic rendezvous with the river."

De Jackson said...

Glenn, this is just a wonderful read. The bookend quotes, the flow within.

Jane Dougherty said...

Very topical today when so many rivers are being declared 'people' with the same protection as human beings.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is a beautiful read to one who loves rivers, as I do.....I love the lines about rivers living in the Now, and also "if they have a soul", and I believe they do.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful love poem to the flowing rivers

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I too love above all, in this wonderful poem, the idea of the river living in the now.

Sreeja said...

a true river story....it is sad to see dead rivers...beautiful!

Kathy Reed said...

Indeed, the river is forever re-inventing itself. Having a soul? Definitely! I like to think we are like the rivers...going on into another realm. Lovely poem.

Katie Mia Frederick said...

SMiLes.. Glenn
froM aS LonG noW
aS i cAN/WiLL reMember
seeiNG Veins of Blood
FeeLinG/SenSinG aLL
NoW as riVer oF Hand
beNeatH A
Dance and Song
Rivers Deep shAre
SpiRit heARt as soUL..:)

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

These two juxtaposed are so wonderful together. I love how you describe the rivers, from mountain to sea. From the vibrant, flowing, moving, living.....to the dry imprint in sand. Death of a river, but how? So very well intoned here....somehow the death knell for something so alive in the previous words. And then these words "river demons whelped--" That one word, "whelped" said it all.
I think this is one of your best.........then again, there are so many. But I really do love this!

Cedarwind said...

The depth of this wonderful...I love how you question past depictions of river consciousness and propose new ones.

lynn__ said...

I'm glad you included the Colorado in your list (and photo). Those "phantom" riverbeds may yet "whelp" a flash flood...you penned an unfolding river drama here!