The River

Archaic rivers cannot tame themselves.

They roil as metaphor: currents in time

that anticipate us, await us, flow through us.

Nothing new can be said here. From the banks,

we step back, step ahead into the same river twice.

Flux baptizes. Dark depths submerge the reeds of the self.

Only the frightened accede to tramping tow-paths,

to boarding ships whose prows plow past the humbled.

En plein air we paint the fluid likeness of Being.

It has our face, our eyes, our hands in perpetual motion.

It blesses our worried wading into pools that plunge us far

above our heads. We cannot step back, step forward, step beyond.

The ecstasy of the ancient wild tames us, initiates us

in time, whose questions puzzle us, whose questions

we cannot help but ask. Step up, step down, step within.

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