Tuesday, November 18, 2014

River Rush (poem)

We drifted down the Colorado River;
the water moved in frothy brown
currents of monotonous music
that would linger forever in my head,
the heartbeat of a living
entity, that song, singing in my bloodstream.

The summer sun poured down a stream
of golden spangles, toe-danced on the river
waves, painted canyon walls with living
art -- red-rock abstracts aflame above brown
sandy banks on the shore. Far ahead
of our gliding J-Rig, we heard white-water music.

The rapids in the distance made loud music
against the quiet rhythms of the steady stream.
I conducted Prokofiev in my dozing head
as I listened to the swelling symphony of the river.
We floated until dusk, then camped above Brown
Betty, first rapid of the morrow, waiting to greet the living.

An owl hooted at sunset; a family of ravens living
in Cataract Canyon provided our dinner music
as we sat around a fire grilling brown
Idahos and cowboy steaks. Stories tumbled in streams
from the old-timers who had long known the river.
I crawled into my tent with ancient tales in my head.

As I fell asleep, stars in a black sky over my head
gleamed diamond blue. I dreamed I was living
with the Anasazi Indians beside a younger, bluer river.
Wild horses thundered across high mesas making music
with their hooves. Down the cliffs, in single files, streams
of Big Horn Sheep descended, fleece of desert brown.

We awoke to the wafting smell of hot, brown
coffee. Hearts high, we loaded the rig, nosed ahead
into the high water. It swelled over rocks in streams
of foam in icy riot. We skittered like dice, living
proof of Nature’s indifference. Towering waves made music
of wildness in our throbbing hearts, rushed us down the river.

Today I feel forever wedded to the river -- my skin no longer brown
from the hot Utah sun, but the sacred music of motion in my head
keeps Promise living in the tumult of Life’s everyday stream.

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