That the Wide River Widens

January 26, 2011

Sad, in a way, for her to be saying this
to all her creations: sad, that they are like
a rift of land entranced by all the rivers,
its air protected by all her fears, fears
that tear the morning river’s gown into its evening shreds;

that each one is unique, each one a form
become more formal, a portrait
where skin is portrayed as both egg and shell,
a simple breechcloth left to cloak the escaping air;
that a child can be born; and that she knows she must hide
his face, and then, like a tiny boat, float down

the river, a river that she must imagine all
her children floating in too, as it flows through
all our towns, just as we must imagine our friends
and our children, our lovers and ourselves, afloat,
alone, un-chaperoned, perhaps for the
last time, buoyant at last.


Yes, sad, for her to say goodbye,
for the wide river widens,
and that river…
that river is ever distasteful
in our open mouths.


4 Responses to “That the Wide River Widens”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    I’d say you are doing an excellent job of understanding it. The hum the words make, the feedback, the overload…and yes, the distance between people, all that. Thanks again, John.

  2. John Stevens Says:

    I’ve read this several times, relishing the sound of the words: the rhythms, the repetitions and echoes. Do I fully understand it? I don’t think so, but it hints at the passage of life, from early days right through to the wide sea at the end, and to the distances between people, even between those who are most fond of each other … so I’ll read it a few more times yet. It’s very rewarding.

  3. extrasimile Says:

    Kolembo. ‘Mothers at airports bidding farewell to sons…’ That gets us there. Thanks for reading the poem.

    ‘And let her rain now if she likes.’

  4. kolembo Says:

    It’s really nice. Your choice of words and rhythm…it’s clear that you write! It reminds me of mothers at airports bidding farewell to sons…

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