Monday, January 26, 2009

Listening To The River

The Rakaia River in the South Island of New Zealand - The most beautiful braided river on our planet.


Last night the moon rose early
orange and round. This morning
winter's first frost on a bristly lawn,
the red iron walls of the barn
like pin - stripes in the slanting sun.

I would like to be able to say
no one I know has lost out
or failed to find whatever it is
they are looking for. Not so easy.
So I think of so and so, a friend
who is drawn to water
and finds rivers speak to her
in languages she lives to translate
over and over. Their syllables
roll like stones consonants catch
and tip like slivers of rock
flickering in the deeps. They hold
what life and light is theirs but cannot
stop the whittling and the wearing.
There is nothing unusual in this
and when they lie still we know
they are not asleep or dormant
but huddle awaiting what will be
rather than storing memories of things past.

A river is never silent. Even its
deepest pools thrive with dark
or dreamy utterances. They shelter
more than we can say we know.


Mr. Kinder said...

The braided Rakaia River is stunning! Thank you for sharing this photograph of it. Have you seen the Wrybills that live there? Or fished for the chinook?

From what I've seen, New Zealand and California share the quality of containing a LOT of stunningly landscapes of great variety. I'm enjoying following the blogs of you in the Southern Hemisphere.

Delwyn said...

Lovely poem too, a NZ poet?

Alden said...

It is a beautiful poem Delwyn - and yes it is Brian Turner, brother of Glen Turner the NZ cricketer - go to my last years blog archive and find "The First Time I Have Ever Won Anything" (Friday August 29 2007) and you can read about my good fortune, you have already read the good poetry he has bought to my reading table.

Alden said...

Yes it is a beautiful beautiful river, sadly braided rivers world wide are under threat from hydro dams and the production of electricity, but I will be joining the ranks of the protesters with my placard (and a whole lot more) if this majestic gift is ever threatened.
No I am not a fisherman, but the Wrybills are intriguing arent' they - what quirk of evolution produced that beak!!!
I haven't travelled extensively in the US but I have seen California portrayed in those wonderful photographs of Ansell Adams and yes there are similarities aren't there.
I am gratified that you enjoy southern hemisphere blogspots, I am certainly enjoying yours

Katherine said...

What a lovely coincidence! I've just finished my post about the Wairoa. I think Turner was writing about ME!

Great post Alden.