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.

12 November 2015

Home is a River

Cataract Gorge in flood 2003. Photo by Aaroncrick 
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

River light moves flashing
almost faster than the eye,
lilting, sparkling silver,
where the boats come round the bend.
Their keels break the water
into fragments dancing bright
like swift, slippery fish, or
iridescent dragonflies.

Night-times on the hilltop,
from my window I kept watch
across the clumped houses
and the dark shapes of the trees
down into the harbour,
that blank, flat, round-edged bowl
of dark pierced by moonlight –
seeming still, but still alive.

Higher up, the rapids
in the rocky gorge frothed white
over big black boulders
in between high canyon walls.
We climbed the crevices
using grass tufts and toe-holds,
not children but pirates
or explorers of the wild.

I live by a river
half across the country now:
warmer, wider, slower,
with a softer, bluer sheen.
I ask myself often
how I came to be so blessed,
smiling at its beauty
which is constant sustenance.

The cold stream of childhood
with its steep and stony banks
gave me reassurance,
guardian of my town and me.
Then life moved me elsewhere
and I couldn’t hear its voice.
Now another river
tells me, ‘Dear, this too is home.’

My own photo of the Tweed River near Murwillumbah. 
© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2015. All rights reserved. 

Linked to Poets United's Midweek Motif: River


  1. Luv the dare, the adventure, the fantasy of verse 3

    Much love...

  2. Love this! The river in all its glory proves to be a constant sustenance for sure :D :D
    Beautifully penned :D

    Lots of love,

  3. I have tears in my eyes. I love the internal part-rhyme of blessed and sustenance. I love that the literal rivers of youth and age are a sure match for the figurative aging--not that you slow down, but I do. I like the images--especially those of keel and bowl. Gosh, Rosemary, this poem made me feel at home, me and my Hudson River whom I'll see in two weeks.

  4. I love the title..i love the parting lines...perhaps the river is inside - a constant flow...good, bad..but always there...a beautiful poem

    1. I intended a poem about the inside river, but it would insist on going more literal! (Smile.)

    2. Poems are petulant like that!

  5. The river gives sustenance for which it had been a constant companion. Even if we are to move away there will be a similar river that will offer the same goodness as we had been a sincere partner before. All goes to show if we are blessed it will follow us irrespective of locations. Love this write Rosemary!


  6. This is lovely, Rosemary. It sounds as if you have had some wonderful river experiences. I especially like the idea of playing pirates....smiles.

  7. "Smiling at its beauty, which is constant sustenance." Me, too, Rosemary. I love that you have a river in your life. I love the sound of your wild childhood river.

  8. Rosemary
    I love it that you know this river, and it knows you, so well.

  9. I love how you described your river and your poem's structure and rhyme scheme was candy in my mouth. a delicious poem. :)

  10. Lovely metaphors! You are so blessed!

  11. The flow, the bounce, the picture, the word picture...everything is classic!! Beautiful poem, Rosemary!

  12. Beautiful rivers to complement a beautiful life. This poem is superb Rosemary. How wonderfully you've intertwined rivers with your life, and you've always been home. Lovely.

  13. I like how you brought in the idea of the river's light as well as its water. Lovely photos. Thank you for reading my poem and commenting as well.

    1. It is always what I see first when I call my childhood river to mind.

  14. "that blank, flat, round-edged bowl
    of dark pierced by moonlight –
    seeming still, but still alive."

    Absolutely stunning, Rosemary!

  15. Murwillumbah is a very beautiful part of the world. Beauty does sustain an artistic soul. Yes you are lucky to be there. Life did move you to a good place.

  16. Your words flow beautifully like a river.

  17. Wonderful word-painting, Rosemary. I love the images of the river and its multifaceted appeal as a place you call home.