Ever River

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever River

Prime time, swallowed whole

Could the universe, just once

Have poured itself into a molecule

So that, thereafter,


Nothing could flow?

 

Never to suckle a broken circuit

For sparking life;

Never split by caesarean pangs

Of primal punctures.

 

Black hole never thinned to liquid

Boiling mud foundation pustules

Turning all to gas.

 

All words now must use the

Speech synthesizer of the global dish

 

So whence the river?

Its source in rejection

Generating dragging threads –

Bubbling, puddling, squelching,

Steaming, clouding, drizzling

Splashing process

 

Where would we be if nothing flowed?

 

Or would the truth be bared

If water found its ends without the flowing means

 

*   *   *

 

Round every dam,

Above all inundations, beyond all droughts

The river bubbles

                   blobs it                              ever on

 

Bleeding out the parched bed’s cracks

 

One river is in every river

Every river recycles to one river

Let all be laminated, superimposed

Rising through fired mud beds

Their crystal sheen, chemical, pure

Rippling underground, mountain rill

 

Forked, widened through basin faults

Embracing all the swellings,

Feeding the clouds to give all back

 

Siphoned off to feed past plains

For grains and pulses

Stock, rodent, and their plague-guests.

 

So that the sea, long past greedy

Would not devour it all,

Sucked off for dams and factories

Vast barriers, shields

                for ravaging and wars

 

Pockets through the centuries

To save and drown –

Only at rare junctures diverted.

 

Once laden, this river dragged its sludge

Throttled by pustule settlements

Banked by insect-egg bin-liners

 

Scummed, frothed and sediment-clouded:

The acrid stout of a fumbling home-brewer

 

Now cleansed, through dereliction

Readmitting life

A happy adjunct to proclaim

 

The true mess swept from sight

 

Once, far beyond erectus, sapiens, Neanderthal

It fed, embraced stampedes

Massed reptilian, bird and mammal flesh

In swallowing, fossil-printing beds

Suffused meanwhile with blood and effluent

 

Then, in our species time

It flanked massacres,

Punctuation marks for ruthless millennia

Straddled by canoes, submersibles

 

Some bodies floated, bloated to clog downstream

Some helmets loosened

 

Inverted to build meaningless boats

 

Sometimes it flanked great ceremonies,

Phased into festivals

Got scummed with battered lager cans

And sodden wrappers

Much-brown and creamed with tack

Peppered from abandoned ashtrays

 

The dredgers came and went

And present-focused

The contorted loop

 

Full circle of prehistory

From monocellular poison

To strained reaches of torture growth

 

Perverted contents, twisted molecules

 

*   *   *

 

On revisitation

With masses under the bridge

 

Generic memories shrunk and muted

I stand in a clear stretch

Where there is no bridge in sight

 

Such myriads transitory

One-directional;

Some can reverse into the human memory

 

Old palaces, monuments

Crumble into their own facades

Mirrored by brash renovation

 

The cycles emulate

And modulate the tides

 

Clean, dirty, overpopulated, vacant

Squeaky splendor, son et lumiere

Beams us back to what we thought things were

Before the truth unbunged the drain

Emitting odour of perspective,

Its trickling blended with the general stream.

 

David Russell
Pic: Claire Palmer

 


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