Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Knowing is Human Not of Rivers

Peter Christensen
From:   Winter Range. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Thistledown Press, 2001.


the river does not care
what is put on it
does not see or hear
or feel tired or needed
does not go to work
need money or care
if the job was bid
too low or too high

the river does not feel
cold or   pain or
broken in spirit
make mortgage payments
enjoy fine wines,
excess, desire, passion,
cool thoughts,
anger

a river is dammed
its energy seized
channeled into wires
it does not feel sorrow

the river does not care
if we live or die of cancer
or stroke or lung disease
are fit or mentally ill

the river does not care
if we sewer it,
smelter slag its gravel beds,
dump salt, garbage, pulp effluent, 24D or rain...
it flows or doesnąt flow
clear dirty polluted or stinking
it's all the same to the river

the river is not subtle or riproaring
or easy or difficult to run
the fishing is neither good nor bad
the river has no memory
no conscience no history
fought no wars lost no loved ones
the river knows nothing
knowing is human, not of rivers


Peter Christensen's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page