Saturday, December 31, 2011

River Lane

River Lane

for Pam

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river 
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable, 
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges. 
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten 
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.

From The Dry Salvages by T. S. Eliot

Almost midnight at the end of River Lane.
An old stump of road that ends in water.
And found a battered old transit
and a man and his guitar
playing alone into the darkness.

We came to bless this river
to pour out our libation of words upon its waters.
But we stopped to listen to his songs.

A voice sharp and clear
like an arrow blade into the night air
returning to us clean and pure
reverberating off the far bank of trees.

A voice woven with water and moonlight.
And in our listening
all things seemed lifted up
made new on this mild summer night.

An anointing.

We slipped out of ourselves and time
as we stood and listened.

© David Loffman