You can’t step into the same river even once;
rivers are always changing.
All the same, there is a reason we keep calling it the same river.
Live beside the river and learn it in its seasons.
Learn the rocks and the water,
the light and the sky,
the slow undercut of the bank,
the gurgling swirl between the rocks.
When the beer-coloured spate tears down the bridge,
and when you cross dry shod on the big stones,
it is and is not the same river.
Walk the whole length of the river
from the spreading delta to the sulky seep of upland spring.
There is a gorge in the mountains.
a shallow meander where the frogs are singing,
a brown pool where the trout sip flies.
If you watch by the willows you might see a kingfisher dive.
There’s a rowan on a shelf above the waterfall,
a power-station by the dam.
This river takes too long to step into.
You doubt the concept of river;
the river has been your constant companion.
You call the river your friend;
the river doesn’t know you exist.
“You can’t step into the same river twice”
the river isn’t the only quantity in that equation.
19th May 2009