River school

I began this pome a while ago, wandering around in a wood. I think the spirit of the Romantics had taken me over that day. I was overdressed, full hair and make-up, ‘sensible’* in the sense in which Jane Austen used that word; bemused families passed as I stood engrossed on the riverbank, immersed in listening to the water and scribbling free-form lines of verse. I enjoyed it very much. I think the mood comes across: it’s some deep Zen Taoist hippy stuff.


At the place that was our last place

I went to visit my river; it had been a year

This spring she is full of pace, of spirit

Rushing on towards the future

‘Come, follow me!’, she sings

I hug the banks and follow, keen to see

What she will do next

As we slip and slide and run along together

She grows in glittering confidence and majesty

She makes me feel like: yes, you can weather storms

Yes, you can absorb floods

Yes, life is possible, a new life

Here is all the energy that you will ever need



Ever changing but always the same

Carrying me away, carrying all before her

Flowing flooding fleeting on she runs

‘Til I find myself at a confluence,

Surrounded on all sides by streams and culverts

Joyfully her sisters run to meet her

Singing their journeys in their various voices

The water leaps, it’s thrown into the air

It falls upon the earth, the banks

But it knows its way home, it trusts its journey

All journeys lead to the same place, after all

Why should I fear, any more than the spray of the waterfall does,

That I will lose my way?


In quieter moments, she gets deep

By the bends of the riverbed

She slows down, murmurs

Thoughts swirl like bubbles within her

The only clues to her inner life

The ever-changing patterns on her surface

Presented with an obstacle, a drama

She just says, ‘Is that so?’

She flows around, over, under and through

She changes shape, speed, pitch as required

But she is always the same river


waterside path

And yes, it’s very different here this year

Things have moved; things have gone

Here, a beach where she rested in years past

Has been swept away or submerged

And there, she needed propping up,

Supporting by her kindly friends

It all looks changed and new, but it will be okay

She is determined. She is choiceless

She deals. She never stops

The river is still teaching me how to live



Video at: https://youtu.be/3-OJgM4Nq-E

A deep thought strikes the poet


capacity for sensation or feeling; responsiveness or susceptibility to sensory stimuli.

mental susceptibility or responsiveness; quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling.keen consciousness or appreciation.

One thought on “River school

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