A friend of mine recently told me she had contemplated taking her own life. She shared deeply personal information about her troubled past and it was obvious how much those experiences haunted her still. I was lost for words. Unprepared for this devastating information, I sought words of comfort, but nothing I said in the cold of that moment seemed adequate. Only a day later, while walking with my dog in the winter sunshine, came any clarity. By the time I reached my desk, the words had formed in my mind and tumbled readily onto the page. My poem, I Know a River, is dedicated to that special friend.
I Know a River
I Know a River I know a river, a beautiful river Nurturing life under every rock Sustaining others as she flows To carry deeds and wonders For the ocean deep I know a river, a beautiful river Who rose from the drop of a sphagnum frond Growing to a glitter over mica and quartz To play with rowan root and dance the fin-dango For the needy ocean deep I know not the river, the beautiful river Who was wickedly restrained Crowded by darkness, boiled by boulders Held back from her destiny In cruel ignorance of the ocean deep I know only the river I see Her waters sweet from chestnut dew Whose serenity carries us onward And hides the struggle underneath For the needs of the ocean deep I know the river glittering bright Who savours the sea under rising moon Beckoning her waves, swirling yin and yang To help bury her waters past As she heads to the ocean deep I know a beautiful river; she’s a friend of mine Through the eye of a needle, under towering crags She flows unstoppable Weaving a fabric of life and love Til she reaches the ocean deep