Archives for posts with tag: rivers

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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)

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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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RAFTING ON THE KERN RIVER (7/07)
by Rick Smith

ride the Kern River
in late July,
feel the broad shaft of heat
and, in shadow,
beneath an expanse of bridge
carrying trucks from Bakersfield,
the grid hums;
you can hear it
over the rush and roar.
 
a man my age
may fall out of a raft
at a hairpin turn
innocently named
“Deadman’s Curve,”
a foot wedged against rock,
toe to toe with the stony bed,
eyes only inches from the foam of surface
and pinned by current,
he holds a final burning breath,
expects to rise,
he sees light through air pockets.
 
sometimes a river raft
may climb onto a boulder
for no reason at noon
while a family orders shrimp scampi
at an outdoor grill in town.
 
ride the river as it swells
and makes its way
gargling and spitting us out
in an instant
like mouth wash.
 
the sound of a helicopter
takes another millennium
to arrive. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Smith is a clinical psychologist specializing in brain damage and domestic violence. He writes and plays harmonica for The Mescal Sheiks. His poems have appeared in South Bay Magazine, Arts and Letters, Rattle, OnTheBus, and Water-Stone. His most recent books are The Wren Notebook (2000), Hard Landing (2010), and, forthcoming, Whispering in a Mad Dog’s Ear, all from Lummox Press.

PHOTO: Kern River Tours, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“Rafting on the Kern River (7/07)” appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE RIVER: The Kern River, located in California, is approximately 165 miles long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. Fed by snowmelt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It is the only major river in the Sierra Nevada mountain range that drains in a southerly direction. (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

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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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THERE IS A MOUNTAIN

Song 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 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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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.