Old River Ways

Old River Ways
I wonder if you still remember
All those who walked along your banks,
Memories flooding in their minds.

You are long and lean as you wind
Through deep valleys, named and unnamed.
Yes, though you are old— you are strong.

Do you remember all the young boys
With fishing poles and raw hopes
To catch a living fish with living worms?

Do you recall the many lovers
Walking barefoot in soft mud, tender hearts
Lost in water’s mirror in the other’s eyes?

And the old man past seventy,
Heaviness etched upon veined skin
Like lichen on your rocks… do you recall his name?

What are you waiting for?
Where did you learn patience
As you yearly yearn for upland fields

To lose black soil, to sacrifice,
Give in floods of spring uprooted trees,
Their precious gift now flowing

From churning, turbulent streams
Joining to your muddy water,
Pushing slowly under bridge.

Do you hold fast to deadly desire
When skaters etch with steel blades
Their path upon thin winter ice?

Under lazy summer days,
Is your hunger quenched with
Pink blossoms caught within your eddies?

Do you contemplate the salty end,
Ocean waiting as does death
To swallow all you have to give and more?

Teach me, Old River, your slow wisdom
Learned through drought and heavy storm,
Forgotten, re-learned as year turns to years.

I stand here thirsting for your teaching,
Inarticulate and humbled by heat of white Sun,
Waiting, naked feet rooted in the sand….

Through frost and fire and
Wild catastrophe of stars—waiting here
To learn your ever moving ways.

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