Sunday, July 15, 2007

The river still moves

The river still moves
Sluggishly, but with power
Through deep curves
Out to sea, to the Gulf.

The brown silty water,
Carrying the mud of
Half a continent,
Still spreads across the delta.

From time before man,
Through Indian dugouts,
And timber-man rafts,
Then steam riverboats,
Captains relearning the snags
Each trip up and down.
Still, the barges,
Laden with coal
Are pushed slowly up and down
By tugs, whose crews
Take books lowered from cliffs
In baskets. Deep
Blasts from the horn
Honoring their patrons as
They pass.

The Father of Waters,
Great Mississippi,
Moving waters and
Memory, through
Space and Time,
Carrying men,
Carrying cargo,
Carrying America
On its broad back.

Ever the same,
Always new.
Changing yet

Betsy McKenzie
July 15, 2007


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