Archives for posts with tag: rivers

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THE BRAZOS
by Sarah Frances Moran

My mother and grandmother told vivid
horror stories of the Brazos River.
They were tales ripe with superstition.

One of them involved seeing the devil jump
from the bank,
into the murky water; laughing maniacally.
Just a red elbow going in as the splash went up.

I consider this river and this small central town
my home.
A transplant to a land ripe with religious innuendo.

This is the river I kayak.
The river that runs through the city where
my love is rooted.
The river that takes my breath away at sunset.

If the devil swims these waters,
he must consider me a friend.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live in Waco, Texas. I’m a native Houstonian, but have quickly fallen in love with my surroundings here. One of my favorite parts of Waco is the Brazos River. It’s beautiful. It’s majestic and it’s slightly frightening. Kayaking the river is one of my favorite pastimes. My poem pays homage to the stories my grandmother and mother use to tell me. In fact, the first time I ever kayaked the river my mother was horrified and worried. Superstition is a powerful thing.

PHOTO: “Brazos River” (Waco, Texas) by Sarah Frances Moran (taken from her kayak).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Frances Moran began writing in the ninth grade out of a desire to help others, and her writing has evolved into full-blown insistence on changing the world. Her aim is to poetically fight for love and harness the type of tender violence needed to push love forward. She strongly believes that words have immeasurable power. Originally from Houston, Texas, she moved to Waco pursuing love. She was recently chosen as the featured poet for the Waco Poet’s Society and The Word Gallery.  Her work has appeared in Catching Calliope, The Bitchin Kitsch, Harbinger Asylum, Digital Papercut, eFiction India, The Boston Poetry Magazine’s online zine and will also be featured in their Spring 2015 issue. Her work is equal parts frustration, hope, anger, advocacy, and love. At the heart of it, she’s a stick-a-love-poem-in-your-back-pocket kind of poet. She’s a huge advocate for animal welfare and works daily to combat pet overpopulation. She resides in Waco, Texas, with her partner and their menagerie of four-legged critters. You can reach Sarah on her website or on Facebook.

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…OF RIVERS
by Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

PHOTO: Langston Hughes by Gordon Parks, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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GREEN CREEK
by Wang Wei (Translated by Henry Hughes and Jin Lei)

To find the Yellow Flower River
One follows the waters of Green Creek
Through the mountains in ten-thousand turns.
But only a few miles, at most.
Sounds drown among the wild rocks,
And colors quiet within deep pines.
Water chestnuts bob lightly.
And reeds and rushes shine
In the clear, stilling waters.
My heart and the river are equally at peace.
Let me sit upon a large, flat rock
And drop my line and hook forever.

Photo: “Green Water Reflection, Blackstone River, Lincoln, Rhode Island” by Sheba53, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”

 NORMAN MACLEAN, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

PHOTO: “The Tetons and the Snake River” (1942), Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, by Ansel Adams. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service. (79-AAG-1)

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THERE IS A MOUNTAIN
Lyrics by Donovan Leitch

Look upon my garden gates a snail, that’s what it is.
Look upon my garden gates a snail, that’s what it is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
The caterpillar sheds its skin to find a butterfly within.
Caterpillar sheds its skin to find a butterfly within.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain.
Oh Juanita, oh Juanita, oh Juanita, I call your name.
For the snow will be a blinding sight to see as it lies on yonder hillside.
Look upon my garden gates a snail, that’s what it is.
Look upon my garden gates a snail, that’s what it is.
Caterpillar sheds its skin to find a butterfly within.
Caterpillar sheds it skin to find a butterfly within.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

Photograph: “The Tetons and the Snake River” by Ansel Adams (1942)

Song: Listen to Donovan sing “There is a Mountain” here.

Note: According to Wikipedia, the lyrics to “There is a Mountain” refer to a Buddhist saying attributed to Qingyuan Weixin: Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its [Zen’s] very substance, I am at rest. For I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.

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ON THE RIVER (Excerpt)
by Marcia Meara

Crystal green flows beneath me,
Leafy arches rise above.
  Dip, glide.
     Dip, glide.
          Slide.
 
Duckweed parts as I float by.
I wonder where they went,
Those ducks.
Gone overnight, it seems.
Another parting, another loss,
And I slide by,
Under all that green.
  Dip, glide.
     Dip, glide.
 
Just there, in deepest shade,
Sleeping emeralds cling.
Tree frogs rest in their
Smooth, damp skins
Waiting for the silver moon.
They’ll open their eyes for the silver moon.
Sleeping now,
As I pass by.
  Dip, glide.
     Dip, glide.
 
With arms raised to that same moon,
I once danced along the shore,
Young and wild and full of joy.
Moving to music
That stirred my soul,
And washed in that pale light,
I danced.
Years ago, in that pale, pale light.
I remember it all,
And so much more,
As I slide by.
  Dip, glide.
     Dip, glide.

Poetry by Marcia Meara appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose by over 70 authors living in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Europe, and Africa — available at Amazon.com (Kindle version free until 12/21/13).

Visit Marcia Meara at her blog Bookin’ It, where she posts reviews and other book-related articles.

Photo by Tony Hisgett

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GREEN CREEK
by Wang Wei (Translated by Henry Hughes and Jin Lei)

To find the Yellow Flower River
One follows the waters of Green Creek
Through the mountains in ten-thousand turns.
But only a few miles, at most.
Sounds drown among the wild rocks,
And colors quiet within deep pines.
Water chestnuts bob lightly.
And reeds and rushes shine
In the clear, stilling waters.
My heart and the river are equally at peace.
Let me sit upon a large, flat rock
And drop my line and hook forever.

Photo: “Green Water Reflection, Blackstone River, Lincoln, Rhode Island” by Sheba53, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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SIMPLE ARITHMETIC
by Billy Collins

I spend a little time every day
on a gray wooden dock
on the edge of a wide lake, thinly curtained by reeds.

And if there is nothing on my mind
but the motion of the wavelets
and the high shape-shifting of clouds,

I look out at the whole picture
and divide the scene into what was here
five hundred years ago and what was not.

Then I subtract all that was not here
and multiply everything that was by ten,
so when my calculations are complete,

all that remains is water and sky,
the dry sound of wind in the reeds,
and the sight of an unflappable heron on the shore.

All the houses are gone, and the boats
as well as the hedges and the walls,
the curving brick paths, and the distant siren.

The plane crossing the sky is no more
and the same goes for the swimming pools,
the furniture and the pastel umbrellas on the decks,

And the binoculars around my neck are also gone,
and so is the little painted dock itself–
according to my figuring–

and gone are my notebook and my pencil
and there I go, too,
erased by my own eraser and blown like shavings off the page.

Photo: ”Morning light on rock patterns, North Saskatchewan River, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada” From the postcard book: Sierra Club Nature in Close-Up. ©Ron Thomas,1988, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find the 160-page book at Amazon here.

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GREEN CREEK
by Wang Wei (Translated by Henry Hughes and Jin Lei)

To find the Yellow Flower River
One follows the waters of Green Creek
Through the mountains in ten-thousand turns.
But only a few miles, at most.
Sounds drown among the wild rocks,
And colors quiet within deep pines.
Water chestnuts bob lightly.
And reeds and rushes shine
In the clear, stilling waters.
My heart and the river are equally at peace.
Let me sit upon a large, flat rock
And drop my line and hook forever.

Photo: “Green Water Reflection, Blackstone River, Lincoln, Rhode Island” by Sheba53, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”  NORMAN MACLEAN, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

PHOTO: “The Tetons and the Snake River” (1942), Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, by Ansel Adams. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service. (79-AAG-1)