Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 12 - Ten ways to tell a River’s Depth through Careful Observation

Image source: Google

Ten ways to tell a River’s Depth through Careful Observation

Observe the river current
from where it kisses the bank
to its meandering, lonely center.

Observe the river in winter
to see how long the frost takes
to arrest its fluid motion.

As the river blooms,
watch the blossoms float
on the wind, kissing the
river’s surface, exchanging lovers.

Observe the flower spurn
The flagging wind
for the irresistible river current
quietly slipping one embrace
for promise of life
and the alluring arms of another.

Observe the river at midnight
when traffic is low, and lovers distracted
step over the railing, lean away
and imagine the river embracing you
as no one has ever cared to.

While leaning out towards the river,
come to your senses,
climbing back to safety.

Toss a heavy stone into the river
tied to carefully measure fishing line,
the other end affixed to either a float
or your ankle, at this point it makes
little difference which.

Observe the river at midnight
contemplating numerous variables
its depth and current
who would miss you and
who might find you;
the undignified, repugnant
state they might find you in.

Return from reflection
               both the river’s and you own
to the reality of the hand
of a passing stranger on your shoulder
and her well-crafted answer,
“It’s not deep enough.”

Abandon all contemplation
on the river completely
and just talk to the woman

for as long as she will listen.

Written for imaginary garden with real toadsSunday's Mini-challenge: Wallace Stevens. Basically, we were supposed to try aping the style of this well-respected poet. I really enjoyed this challenge, even as my effort went to a predictably dark place. :)


  1. really well crafted. I particularly like IX. ~

  2. Yes, it did go to a dark place, but also evoked the nature of rivers very well. As a lover of rivers (in general, and some particular ones) I really enjoyed reading.

  3. So many ways to measure the depth of a river (I believe you have done it often) but the last one is riveting "and just talk to the woman for as long as she will listen." We seem to know the depth of things more than of people. And some people have a depth that is worth knowing. I like this poem.

  4. Oh the flow of this took me into a narrative where particularly the last coda gave me a sigh of relief... a wonderful writing where each would stand alone...

  5. the river takes a new meaning...a lovely flow

  6. An exquisite flow! Poem loaded with depth and meaning....passionately composed!

  7. I admire the different facets of river like nuances of the relationship ~ Perhaps the last one is best after all that contemplation, smiles ~

    Very well penned Barry ~ Thanks for linking up with Sunday's Challenge & wishing you happy week ~

  8. It is an amazing word picture of a river. There is darkness and light, the changing landscape. Love how you summed it up in the last verse.

  9. viii...who would miss you and who might find you

    I would miss you!