Posted by: Peadar Ban | August 26, 2018

A POEM ABOUT THE RIVER

DOWN TO THE SEA
I saw the group at water’s edge gathered
In a semi-circle where we launch boats,
Cast lines, throw stones, just sit watching
The river moving on down to the sea.
Some times they shifted slightly, waiting…
For what, I thought… As if I signal sent
They turned and walked up the bank. One came
Toward me, sadness in her step, on her face,
And spoke her name, Sherry; from down the road,
There to remember with his family
Her young nephew, now no longer living.
He was just thirty-six, and too soon dead
Her eyes, tone of voice and shaking hands all said
Before she spoke the name of her nephew: Greg.

I told her I would remember and pray
For him. “He came from here, but he had gone
To Connecticut and died there last week.
He wanted some of his ashes scattered on
The river. That’s what we were doing there.”
“Oh,” I said, “I thought it was a christening.”
I would still pray I told her. Then thanking
Me she turned and walked back to the others.

I stood, there on the river bank, later
Looking downstream; the deep, dark, slow stream,
Stone paved shallows at my feet, floating leaves.
What had been Greg had gone away downstream.
No trace remained, no little speck of him
On the river’s long way to the deep wide sea.
I turned away and turning saw the old man
In his old boat pulling against the current
To the spot where Greg’s people had just been.
Each day to this spot, mid-river he comes
Drops anchor, baits line, settles down, and waits.

Often I see him, sitting there mid-stream
Rocking if a breeze ruffles him a bit
Or a passing cloud casts a shadow down
On the water’s face. Always there, it seems
Always there so we may all meet the sea.

peg 08/22/2018


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