The poem “Diligent River” was written in the fall of 2014 for an assignment in an online writing course. Students were asked to write a descriptive poem incorporating as many of the five senses as possible. I spent several days observing the Diligent River from the Ward’s Falls hiking trail recording in my notebook what I saw, heard, felt and tasted. The area is an ancient one geologically and as I watched and listened to the rain-swollen river, I suddenly realized that, in its own way, it is eternal and that everything is part of its endless cycle. My poem was also inspired by “Water” in which Gwendolyn MacEwen writes that water “always knows its way back home.”
First rain, then river.
I am the river I am the rain’s quick body I am its songs.
I dash smiling over red ochre stones In a chorus of swoosh and slap. I am the river after rain Wrinkling myself over myself in ecstacies of foam Peaks and valleys tumbling toward the sea In riots of bubbles.
I am the river I taste yellow and brown Silver-cold in your palm I magnify heart line and life line I am eternal; you are here now. I am the river, I find my way home.
I am the river, the shove and the tug Branches, tree trunks and leaves And you with your notebook, water and bone Will ride with me soon to the sea We’ll sail back on grey-black freighters Rain and then river, again.
I am the river I am the rain’s sleek body I am its songs I am your journey of water and bone.