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


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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