The River Hastens: A Poem

Updated on May 26, 2018
cam8510 profile image

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

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Chris Mills


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      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 years ago from Central Florida

        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.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

        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 profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 years ago from Texas

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

        Blessings my friend

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

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

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

        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.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

        maven101, thank you for your helpful and encouraging feedback.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        2 years ago from Houston, Texas

        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.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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.

      • maven101 profile image


        2 years ago from Northern Arizona

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

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

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

      • manatita44 profile image


        2 years ago from london

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

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

        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.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

        Thank you Louise, I appreciate the visit.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        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.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        2 years ago from Norfolk, England

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


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