A song for the autumn river


Upon returning from a stunning day skiing (yes, skiing…) atop the frozen Methow River… I was inspired to rework this poem originally started back in October of 2010 inspired by my beloved Rio Grande.  Thank you to new friends and neighbors here in Washington for a feritle seed of inspiration, and to those who put up patiently with my longing for where I was.


The water lures me as she has so many times before
Now emerging discreet as a delicate muse in the woods
Her hollow voice tempting in a distant primordial chant
Of silver coins tossed from teasing fingers
Her sweet smell and silky sway and wave taunting down the mountainside

And if I stand here long enough will I see her freeze
Watch the surface relinquish to the stagnant state of frozen waters

Am I no more than a voyeur
Standing safely out of reach
Dry on her precarious banks
While she takes no heed of my presence
I am but a hunched form like a leaning tree casting shade across her face
As her struggle to keep fluid ebbs and flows in thickening waters below

Watching the last of her dazzling dance down the mountain
A spray of glittering waters splashing over rocks worn smooth by her impassive force
As the last of the lowering sunlight sheds long shadows across her ever changing shell
So soon to be concealed for the drunken duration of long winter

The surge of ice shall spread expand swell and cover
Suffocate the last of this seasons song
As she gives up gives in and can no longer hold her own
Succumbing to the weighty swathe of ice and snow
Cooling and calming her passions
Reducing restricting constricting her rage
Held back at bay by the season

The expanding cold takes charge of her course
Secrets and sounds still
The long static expanse being laid out above her
A white ribbon winding between two hills of black timber

The end of a white noise louder than the clatter rolling around in my mind

I lose myself in the last of this frigid rushing
The conclusion of open waters and her alluring voice
Soon to be suppressed
Numb and stifled with no words of her own
Tucked away behind her hijab

I lean over and dip in my hand
Calloused palm seared by cold waters
Fingers outstretched seeking searching
As if I might hold onto something solid
Perchance an understanding
But all she does is move around me
Unconcerned with the minor inconvenience of my flesh and blood and bone
Appearing a ghostly white beneath the slick surface

I pull back my hand now red and throbbing
Anger at the violent cold
And allow the water to continue without me
My futile interference leaves not a ripple
I am allowed to watch but nothing more
The river is stronger than I am

And to think of how many spend a lifetime
Struggling to subdue control alter and own
That which is mightier than you or I will ever be

She will have her time again
Singing loudly with fierce abandon
As the ice recedes and she releases her pent up rage
Wild with furious brown waters
Six months from now

3 thoughts on “A song for the autumn river

  1. Gin, I wept with the sheer beauty and magnitude of your poem and how magnificently you wrote of my muse: water. I felt the force of your words to my very core, just as I am sure the river felt the power of your thoughts through your hand communication with her. I, too, will return to read more of your exquisite writing. ~ Julie

  2. This is really wonderful Gin. I could see myself standing there watching and listening. I especially like this line “Watching the last of her dazzling dance down the mountain” because the vision of it intrigues me and makes me smile.

Thank you for your interest in Gin's writing.

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