The White River

Follow the white river about the blackened land.

Listen to the old voices riding on its back.

Find in it its connection to all people and place

and know that this, this is the wisdom that

runs in a river.

 

Inspired by ‘The Gold Sun,’ by PK Page – ‘Credences of Summer,’ Wallace Stevens

 

Land blackened by a soot which no raven

is visible, and no wing moving

could possibly be caught,

land blackened like the ‘off’ screen of a monitor,

no shapes lit by light but

formed by dark reflections – a darkness

as the little night falling before twilight

and so often passed over by the sleeping.

Green eyes bright as cymophane

Follow the white river about the blackened land.

 

You’ll hear the voices of the ancestors no matter what.

Though they may trouble you, without them you are lost.

To live without them, forgetting

will give you a life less than full,

flowing with untraceable missteps.

So let the others live everyday in their coffins,

Not knowing the debt they’re paying.

But you will hear them in the river.

Listen to the old voices riding on its back.

 

How to decode the river’s whispers?

That silver hair – undulating, never at rest

in its long journey across the great

plain of time – is Yemaya,

Queen: heroine principle,

The watery darkness in all of us.

And its whiteness – no less

simple than its sound – is just as

obscure and occult. Therefore how

to learn the white river and its old language?

Find in it its connection to all people and place.

 

Make a sound with it, strong, and know

it unbroken and pour it so

into the black land from your open lungs.

Tune out what isn’t white river

the way a bee hears her hive,

the way a child knows her mother’s voice,

of listening more by hearing less

of everything else, all other noise gone

except the river, the song you’re singing, medicine,

and know that this, this is the wisdom that

runs in a river.