I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

22 May 2014

The First River

The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are. — Lyn Noel

Frothing rapids between high banks of rock
cascaded down into a wide, flat bay.

That water seemed silk-thin on the surface,
sheer and pretty, though we knew it was deep.

The little yachts rode serene at anchor,
their white triangles pointing to the sun.

In sunlight my river glinted silver,
dazzling the eyes with flashing sparks of light.

Then it wandered down its long, winding way
to the ocean, to George Town and Bell Bay.

And on the way there were many beaches,
including my nearest, Gravelly Beach.

The stones underfoot were smooth and golden.
The water was body temperature.

I was a shy child, skinny and awkward,
but I felt that the river understood

as I paddled and splashed and tried to swim.
I felt that it held me, kind like a friend

near the earthy banks with reeds and tree roots
and the tiny fish that tickled my toes.

I am far away from my first river.
I have lived in many places since then. 

But always I must live by a river —
a river and some mountains — for my home.

For dVerse Poetics — It's Quotable.

(Yes, this is the same opening quote that I used two posts ago. I really did want to write about my first river, after all. It was the Tamar, in Launceston, Tasmania.)


  1. I learned to swim by the sea, and I cannot think about living too far from the sea.. there is a connection - like heartbeat from that water...

    1. I understand. I, by contrast, though I love the sea and enjoy being near it, am not at home in it and prefer to swim in rivers.

  2. Same river, another day, another vision. Enjoyed all three poems, Rosemary. I just saved my fingers some stress from typing the same superlatives that all three have earned. Well done!

    1. Thanks, Walt. I felt this one was not so successful as the others, but perhaps I need to get some distance from it now. :)

  3. I love that the girl felt the river understood and held her, kind like a friend.......so sweet. A wonderful river, and beautiful writing.

  4. that first river...among other first...def capture a place in our hearts....smiles...the one i learned to sail on was the one
    that has captured mine..

  5. Oh, yes. This poem speaks to me, who grew up with the Hudson, though it's been a long time since I swam in anything. We loved dipping in the cold streams that fed the river and sitting in pools under waterfalls in the Northern Catskills. Now I live near the Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers.

  6. i love this beautiful relationship with the river that held you as a friend..."near the earthy banks with reeds and tree roots / and the tiny fish that tickled my toes."
    a wonderful description...

  7. "But always I must live by a river —" and the rest of the poem delightfully shows us why. Lovely.