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The River Hastens: A Poem

Chris has written poetry for 28 years though he focuses on short fiction. But watch out for the occasional twisted nursery rhyme.

Clark Fork River, Montana


The River Hastens

I sat on a cushion of moss in spring rain.

And observed the river hasten by.

The current and roiling were always the same

Though the water renewed on the fly.

A tree swept past upon the water’s surface.

While branches, silt, and flowers in turn

Revealed the brook’s ultimate aim and purpose,

To bear away what the forest spurned.

Weeks later I came once again to the stream

Reluctant to see death and decay.

The river as taker of life, I deemed,

To be beneath her calling and trade

I sat on my cushion of moss in late spring.

The river sauntered lazily by.

A hen swam past with her ducklings in a string

And a trout leaped to feast on a fly.

The river now seemed to be bearer of life.

Deadly currents as well had been tamed.

The once soil laden flow was now clear and bright

Which is the source and right of her fame.

Could the river that carries away the old

And the stream that delivers the new

Be two aspects of the one and both be bold

To form a cycle for me to view?

The river of death and the river of life

Are one stream that will never divide.

In annual surges and summer purges,

Life and death will forever collide.

The Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana During Spring Snowmelt

© 2018 Chris Mills


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 29, 2018:

I love this poem, Chris. One force of Nature can be the breeder of life or death, depending on the circumstances. Your poem has a nice flow and made me think.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 29, 2018:

Shyron, The cold is a price I'd gladly pay to stay here, but alas, I'll be gone before the snow flies next season. Thanks for the visit.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 28, 2018:

Chris, your poem is great and I love the river, but Montana? where the cold comes to soon,

Blessings my friend

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 27, 2018:

Peggy, right now, I am waiting for those "raging torrents" to subside so I can get on with fly fishing. Thanks for the comment.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 27, 2018:

Linda, if you do visit Montana, I recommend the western part of the State using Missoula as a base. Glacier NP is within reach and the Missoula area has lot's to offer. Thanks for the visit.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 27, 2018:

maven101, thank you for your helpful and encouraging feedback.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Rivers can certainly change in character from quiet streams to raging torrents depending upon snow melts and other factors. You captured that beautifully in your poem.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 26, 2018:

This is a lovely poem with an interesting message, Chris. I think that nature can teach us a lot. I'd like to visit Montana one day.

Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on May 26, 2018:

Excellent visualizations...The contrasting river of life, river of death is a perfect poetic descriptor that captures the disparity of haiku...Thank you

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2018:

manatita, there is no better eye to be watching. Thank you.

manatita44 from london on May 26, 2018:

Nice message. You are a poet Bro . I'm keeing an eye on you. Way to go!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2018:

Eric, the rivers are still full. They are packing sandbags over at Ft Missoula to stem the flooding in some neighborhoods. The video was the Clark Fork River just before the confluence with the Bitterroot. I'm just waiting to get the fly rod out, but it will be a few weeks yet.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2018:

Thank you Louise, I appreciate the visit.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 26, 2018:

I could be wrong here but I seem to remember that river/creek as peaking out in may. We were up there for the last snow pack at the Missoula Snowbowl. My buddies's dad took us up as that was where he grew up.

Man o mano you bring that raging beast back to me. You are such a great artist. Beucoup mercies.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 26, 2018:

I enjoyed reading your poem, Chris. And I love the video of the river. It's very peaceful.

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