touw river on a sunday

we came to the river
on mist forest earthpaths,
spangled with autumn’s first leaves
firebright and deep green veined –
on boardwalks tall-stepping
through fern marsh

we came to the river
walked its way for a while
walked where the forest
grows slow as mountains.
at the pont crossing we left the path,
did not cross to the forest hill ahead,
but slipped instead under low branched trees
onto the silt-sand beach in the shade,
stepped into the water to continue upstream
to where the sway of this river
deep pools into its curves
and a bright sand beach
opens a moment to the sky.
stepped into the river, skirts hitched,
to walk the clear water sand
between reedbank and deepwater,

but oh the tide, the tide of delicious water
so much more than the kneedeep we expected –
knees thighs stomach swallowed,
tip-toeing almost shoulder deep
arms held above our heads
keeping dry what needs to be dry –
laughing with the sun soft river that claimed us.

beyond the reeds
beyond the curve
beyond the chatter and call of the pont
we splash amphibious onto the beach
untie hair – strip and wring wet layers –
hang them on low bushes to dry –
plunge again into the river –
follow breathless that deep water curve
where it drops quiet and dark
beyond tree-shadow and light.

i would like to speak its language
this river that owns me
speak its amber water tongue
skin ripple – its gravel crunch hiss
to underwater ears
its gold leaf surface floating tide

but we came to this river
rain drop to silver surface –
submerged and swallowed
we are lost to the tang of salt
the belly laugh that deep bubbles
rippling fern mirrors,
lost to the unknowable depth
and the sinuous flow.

there is no tongue to speak us
until water formed and shaped
we are birthed again and again
to this world – radiant
on the bank
of the holy river.


For Brendan at Earthweal’s weekly challenge: THE LANGUAGE OF THE WILD

https://earthweal.com/2022/03/21/earthweal-weekly-challenge-the-language-of-the-wild/

14 thoughts on “touw river on a sunday

  1. This is GORGEOUS, especially your closing lines. And I smiled when I read “i would like to speak its language this river that owns me,” because I just posted my poem that speaks of wishing to speak the language of the wild too. A really beautiful poem, Lindi.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You make the holiness vivid, especially in the water, where I am sure you–your voice–enacts an ancient ritual return home. Before you have us submerge, though, I love this: ” . . . walked where the forest
    grows slow as mountains.” WOW. The speed of nature! And then, the long slow walk to the holiest place. A delightful read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is just lovely language all through, very immersive(no pun intended) and immediate, and the sense of floating in something larger than ourselves, with its own life and purpose that yet is willing to take us in, is perhaps the very cornerstone of our love for the natural world. Nature accepts and refreshes us all. I especially like “..the sun soft river that claimed us…” and “…speak its amber water tongue/skin ripple – its gravel crunch hiss/to underwater ears/its gold leaf surface floating tide..”Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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