Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The River

I was born upon thy bank, river,

My blood flows in thy stream,

And thou meanderest forever

At the bottom of my dream

Henry David Thoreau,
Journals (1906), 1842 entry.

The face of the river, in time, became a wonderful book . . . which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it had uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.

Mark Twain,
Life on the Mississippi

I came where the river

Ran over stones;

My ears knew

An early joy.

And all the waters

Of all the streams

Sang in my veins

That summer day.

Theodore Roethke,
The Waking

Rivers flow.

The sea sings.

Oceans roar.

Tides rise

Who am I?

A small pebble on the grand shore;

Who am I?

To ask who I am.

Isn’t it enough to be?

Native American saying

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge

and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you,

you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.

A. A. Milne,
Pooh's Little Instruction Book

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day

and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water,

rivers remembered and rivers imagined.

Rivers course through my dreams,

rivers cold and fast,

rivers well-known and rivers nameless,

rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys,

narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows,

rivers that have eroded down deep into the mountain's belly,

sculpted the land,

peeled back the planet's history

exposing the texture of time itself.

Harry Middleton,
Rivers of Memory

O river, river, never yet
Was half your glory sung;
And never skill of painter’s brush
Nor praise of poet’s tongue
Shall half reveal the majesty,
The charm, the primal grace
That clothe you and attend your ways
And shine from out your face.
Frederick Oakes Sylvester,
Principia College