Water Music IV

To be is to have been with these waters; to be
is to have roots in bleeding earth,
from mud, that oozing formless mother squeezed,
is to have known the longest path downhill —
falling, fierce drops from the blistering clouds —
or to be born as dew in pre-dawn light
or to come as crystal. solemn in frost.
or to spring from the rocks’ deep airless streams,
chill child of the darkness, full of tumult.’

To be is to flow, formed and yet formless,
bubbling with atoms’ singing bravado,
proud of a charge, an affinite valence,
a molecule’s journey defying death,
reflecting yet fleeing the sun’s hot lamp,
alive yet buoying the leaves of decay,
carving trails everywhere, here mingling,
there feeding hungry roots, there wearing down
some arrogant hillside, toppling its trees —
to move with a certainty of purpose,
knowing the land is shaped by tireless ions.
To be, however small, yet know yourself
the sine qua non of spring and summer!

To leap, however deceived, to hot air
into the trap of a motionless pool
over the brink of a cataract, down
to the inky depths of an ocean trench, —
all are the same to you, no place an end,
at home alike in gill and gullet, one
with even the loneliness of glaciers —
To know your destiny, the truth of your being,
borne from the source by your own charge.
To know is to reach by any means
an end which no other essence compels;
to be, and to leave where you pass
your subtle fingerprint upon the hardest stone.

Note: The equinoctial storms engulfing the Notheast this weekend made me think of this poem.


  1. The cadence of this poem is elegant and beautiful.

  2. You got me, gill and gullet. Good good good.


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