a larger river

a larger river is still with us
fills up the whole valley
so full of fish we imagine walking on the water
not this unlikely urban river
debranched     half-buried
shorn of its meanderings
we greet the lager river
with patterns made by our own feet
walking along paths that echo the old ways
that know the wily expression of water
finding its wandering way
let’s get lost in amazement
let’s call this river Dana the mother goddess of the Celts
her name is rivers the Danube, the Russian Don, the English River Don
let’s stand where trees stood in the water
where Toronto can be a word for how to catch fish
where salmon spawn
where the cries of birds can still awaken the unknown in all of us
where we can be grateful for the changing course of the river
where we don’t right the river the river writes us
let’s linger where we can learn about time
standing by the river
let’s praise the watercourse not bury it
let us constantly start from the lowland
the wetland that holds back the flood
beside this diminished river we can still find joy
we can mark the places where we’ve lost the curves
and swales and riffles and mud flats and freshets
the ponds and marshes and run-off
find again the original names
for terrain our city has failed to master
listen again for storms that shake the trees
choose not to forget the river’s power
to restore the meanders and braided streams
to make a home for the dragonfly and the red admiral butterfly
for the marsh marigold and the spring ephemerals
for the night herons and song sparrows
for the willows and the trembling aspens
we will be waiting with the milkweed
looking for sources of the river
in the occluded ravines
in the diverted streams and asphalted creek beds
where the birds first flocked to the delta
where the sumach grew
where the Irish planted gardens
where Charles Sauriol settled
where the original people still have rights to hunt and fish
where the canoes came all the way down to the lake
we will walk beside the larger river


About Nicholas Power

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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