River

I found this in a basement box. Written in February, 1979 while we were living in Muscatine, Iowa. No editing or improving. A solo effort flanked on each side by decades of silence.

—∞—

Trembling in the early morning sun
Dewy tears shown with joy on the grasses
As breezes chasing the fleeing night
Shook them to the roots buried
Deep in the dark soil at the woods edge

A drop shuddered
Lost its hold
Fell to the ground
Others fell too
From the warmth of the dawn
Into the darkness close to the earth

Those near each other touched
Meeting … mingling … joining … pulling
Moving
Running … sliding … wandering … merging
Swelling
Flowing … splashing … scattering … gathering … rushing
Rippling
Slowing
Spreading … deepening … quieting

Light, shadows, birdsong
Peace
Solitude
Silence
Imperceptible movement
An occasional sparkle
A lonely swirl
Lingering from the touch of a willow
Drooping to the surface

Cottonwood fluffs suspended on the line
Between air and the green water
Warm beneath them
Hours had passed
The treetops felt the approaching noon
Heat from the sun arrested the breeze
Thickened the humid air
Trapped the rising vapors
From the river below


A locust’s call rang across a clearing
         and died away
Water drying on the sweltering mud
Left on the shore from a passing barge
Days had passed when a gull wheeled overhead
Salty water was closing in on our dewy wanderers
The sun had long since set
Last traces of hue on the western horizon
Gone
A horn warned of the approaching fog

© 1979 Thomas W. Cummins

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4 Responses to “River”

  1. maskednative Says:

    Love this Tom. The slow, quiet beginning, quickening to wakefulness, blossoming to meditate the fullness of growth, and retiring gracefully. The day was beautiful Tom, from start to finish. Your voice is in here.

  2. Thomas Says:

    This one is truly lovely, Tom. I’m glad you saved it.

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