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Be The River

Maureen Scott Harris
From:   Arc, 49 winter 2002


              Be the river then, straight or crooked,
          its hidden energy pulling it ever down
              at a speed that's barely visible. Be
                                        its red clay trough, be the way it wears
     its own being-in-motion into place there,
     the polished and runnelled banks which
     curve and hold, be both flow and bank
and then the rising above. Be the air above
which pushes against its surface smoothing
                                           or ruffling, snatching for something.
                                     Be the tangle of small willows crowding
                                        the bank, leaning over their reflections,
          growing dizzy watching the clouds drift among the fish beneath them. Be willows
          and be too the stones in the gravel bank
          whose slight movements mirror the way
              water meets air, who bask in weather
          and are patient. Be the silt washing in from the rain, and the muskrat swirling at
              the bank, be the splash and trickle of sounds without identity, half-formed words
          surfacing, do you hear? Be the swallows who skim along the water's surface twisting
                    their narrow wings to rise and dart and
                    dip down again. Be all these and more,
              whatever falls into the water and through its skin to find its robust and hidden depths,
          tumbling towards its wide mouth, singing.


"Be The River"
was awarded first prize in Arc's poem of the year contest in 2002,
and was first published in Arc 49 (winter 2001).


Maureen Scott Harris's works copyright © to the author.


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