Thursday, May 31, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Rivers

In New Zealand it is traditional for Maori to identify themselves by their mountain and their river. I grew up, not next to a river, but next to the Opanuku Stream. This stream flowed through my dreams on rainy nights, and would sometimes escape and run, unstoppable, through our garden and beneath our house.

River
At night she dreamed of rivers,
ribbons spread thinly over
beds of shale, swollen
jugular veins flowing
darkly through pasture.

In daylight she watched
blue lines pulsating under
her skin and remembered with a
sense of longing that puzzled her
until she realised that rivers
were always running and that
she was looking
for escape.

One evening she dreamed
of an expanding delta and
when she woke her bed
was floating on
an ocean.

More poets writing about rivers here.

17 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

The first stanza has such beautiful imagery. Somewhat harsh too.

We are what we really desire. Rivers have that in them to makeus aware of that. Our thouhts flow just the way rivers flow.

strauss said...

I agree, the first stanza really was quite fabulous, "ribbons", "shale", "jugular"...excellent.
I presently live in "The Delta" and those in teh know keep telling us to be wary of floods in the next month - I hope I don't wake one morning to find myself floating around my living room!

Pauline said...

liked the comparison of rivers to blue lines pulsating beneath the skin...you've described two rivers of life beautifully

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

Deep, deep meaning in your words. The constant flow of time, yet to our eyes, the river never changes. Always flowing.

Rose

xo

Catherine said...

I like the way you make this somehow more than the childhood experience that you described in your introduction. "floating on the ocean" seems more mysterious than just having the creek running through your house!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like your imagery and your comparisons and the surrealism of the ending.

twitches said...

This is cool. A great use language, lots of internal and slant rhyme, which I like. Great ending.

pepektheassassin said...

I agree with everything that has already been said. Good job!

jim said...

Exceptional word choices, and the movement from the external observations of the river, to our own interior rivers, and then to the dreamy re-collection of the ocean . . . such movements and countermovements.

sputnik said...

I love the vein theme. Not just any vein, but jugular--you strike the very life force.

chicklegirl said...

This poem has a magical realism feel to it--I really loved the last stanza!

bookbinds said...

The poem floats beautifully with surreal imagery and narrates the different landscapes of our internal and external selves.

Colorful Prose said...

I love the comparison of rivers to swollen jugular veins.

Jessica said...

You have really inhabited the prompt here with your use of river imagery. This is an excellent poem!

tsukinobun said...

'jugular veins flowing
darkly through pasture'

mmm.
I saw the oozing, gloppy, bloody/black mixture flowing over dried and yellowed grass at late afternoon.
and i heard the slow, bristling sound it would make and the way the stalks would bend with it, in a pattern.

welcome to my universe said...

Loved this poem. "When she woke, Her bed was floating on an ocean" Great finish.

...deb said...

I can only echo what others have said. I love your clear but full language.

And delta is a fabulous word.