A Poem: Rivers

It is yours.

I just caught it, pocketed it as a leaf
in a gust of wind,
or a shell among many at the water’s edge.

I just listened for it, distinguished it
amongst the background noise.
Ringing as all real poetry, clear
as a singing bowl.

Although it is yours,
it is like the river,
in which you stand not knowing beginning from end,
just that it flows.

And who can say whether the river
is in the water that is here and gone,
or the topography of land,
the bank and the riverbed underneath.

So it is with this.

This poetry that comes and lands at will
upon my page,
finds these hands.

But to who it belongs?

If I kept it, found a frame to keep it still,
it would lose hold of the life that underpins it,
would become a stagnant brook.

Instead it finds you,
knows its name upon your tongue –
though neither of you have met before.

And it not only settles in,
like all good gifts,
but lives itself out as the everchanging thing it is.

And even you find it hard to note
what in an instant can make it yours,
but just as my pen is touched as scribe
you stand willing to be found,

wanting a word to make its home,
and I knee deep in shifting sands
hear the river singing on.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
January 2021

~ a poem about poetry and who it belongs to, the poet or reader.


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