Week 8: The River
Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.
The eighth theme for the year is the river.
May what I do flow from me like a river,Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours (translation by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy)
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
I came back to sit on this dusty patch of ground of my birthplace,
by the side of a wide, flowing river.
Here lay the bones of my father,
and the bones of my mother.
I am fractured,
as they once were.
I open the morning sun-gift,
and scatter the gold on the cattails and the rushes.
The vault of the weeping willow,
under which I gather myself,
The sparrows come and dance.
They share my bread.
I have read their book and interpret their songs.
Their sense is keen and mark between
the gentle deer and the yellow-fanged dog.
Does the river purify or destroy?
Each morning I unravel dawn’s gilded question,
threading night into day.
I have not seen the sea,
but heard stories of the monsters living there,
and the pitiless fathoms,
and the dark worlds beneath.
If I am stranded on open water for nights at a time,
will I learn the language of the moon?
Will I learn its secrets, too?
In this wild and lovely moment,
I hear a new call for the old promise.
This river is true life.
Unmoor your boat and take your chances.
ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT
We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!
We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.
This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say. Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.
Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts. You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!