Tuesday, 2 September 2008

[poem:] Michael Yates: River

Sacred River

It's all about the living water - The way that water lives its life - Where it comes from where it's going - Under ground and under skies - It cuts its way through rock and time - Runs its way down to the seashore - In tidal conscience fills the ocean - In vaporous presence fills the skies

A River Runs Through Us

Weir down there!
But we’re up here
on the murmuring bridge
the mumbling bridge,
the tourniquet
for the deep wound
cut by the water.

Me mam said:
When she was a girl,
the foam flew fierce
up off the Aire,
up in the air,
rotted her nylons,
ravaged her knees.
(“Don’t say ravaged,”
says me dad,
“it’s not a nice word.
But it doesn’t do it now,
so I’ve heard.”

Weir down there!
And I’m up here
on the curving bridge,
the swerving bridge,
single strong shackle
holding the brown burglar,
the intruding river.

Me dad said:
When he was a nipper,
the river stunk.
says me mam,
“is the past tense of stink”)
but now, he says, it’s fit to drink.
Well, almost, I think.
And: only if there’s nothing better.
But then – rivers!
What would I know?
Rivers only run through things.

They don’t like stopping.
Not round here.

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