The River 

image002.jpg (38896 bytes)

Just a few miles south of here, 
the River skirts our county’s outermost edge. 
Weaving her way through a web 
of kudzu vineyards, 
‘possum playpens 
and copperhead tanning beds,

the Saluda takes on the color 
of the russet red clay 
that frame her banks 
and the septic green purée 
that seeps from her bowels. 

Though this water moccasin freeway flows…seemingly, 
from a never ending source, 
she’s never quite able to purge herself
from the discretion of man.

I could show you a glen 
that once cradled a grove, 
nursing her saps 
upon the paps of the Earth. 

Now into the River 
she bleeds from her womb, 
as thistle and thorn 
is all that she births.

From the reach of a rise 
I could point out a ravine 
that the River once filled 
and a submerged garden 
a tender once tilled, 
before cresting an old outpost 
to explore the new land. 

I could escort you to a pseudo-sentinel, 
keeping an elusive rival at bay; 
a churning caldron of consommé 
impersonating a lake. 

We could slip into a secluded shantytown, 
in a nook
by the crook
of a creek. 
Where slackers toke smokin’ flax 
under the cover of willows, 
and the cares of this life, 
like so many liquid dreams, 
drift away.

I could guide you to an ole cubbyhole 
through a hollow in the hills, 
where mashmongers squeezed a living 
by the shine of a reeling moon. 

Now there’s a hodgepodge of pick-ups 
girdling the loins of a gangling road 
and a posse of present-day hillbillies, 
using the grain to bag the ’bows. 

But beyond the shimmering broil 
of the blacktop 
and the smothering embrace 
of the kudzu, 
the River finds sanctuary 
within the pristine periphery of the Park.

For here the foothills bow 
to the majesty of the mountains 
and the jangle of the urban jungle succumbs 
to the sedation of the serene. 
And the River enjoys a relative reprieve 
from the encroachment of man. 

Waters once ridden, 
remnants of a throw-away society, 
suspended in the frothy brine; 
now reveal with sparkling clarity, 
the Creator’s etchings 
through the eons of time. 

Waters once writhing, 
carving her course 
through the crumbling clay; 
now thunder through a chiseled chasm, 
taking no prisoners along the way.

Yet my heart longs for the headwaters, 
to an isolated place. 
Where peaks pierce the misty mantle 
and clouds cloak their craggy face.

Waters tainted by the toil of man 
are drawn towards heaven 
to Elohim’s still. 
And once refined, 
in the veil behind, 
are henceforth discharged, 
pure as the crucified will. 

The highlands are nearest the heavens 
and first to receive the rain, 
as spring and spill, 
runnel and rill, 
converge amid the careening hills.

Yet even the purest of water 
is all too soon contaminated 
when allowed to run randomly 
over unyielding ground. 

Unlike the champaign clay 
that soon gives way, 
the headwaters have well-defined boundaries 
that will never be annulled; 
the moss-enshrouded monoliths 
that bear the River’s flow. 

And though some boulders loom 
as large as a house, 
larger still, 
is the part unseen, 
in the secret place, 
into the bedrock 
they are fitly framed. 

While at a passing glance, 
it may appear, 
these stones direct the water’s flow. 
But a closer study will show; 
the River has chosen her own way, 
removing what was unanchored, 
revealing what is to stay.

Through countless ages come and gone, 
these primitive rocks 
have insulated the River from siltation 
and have faithfully channeled 
her refreshing waters 
to the parched basin below. 

The soothing rhythmic 
bubbling and burbling, 
gushing and gurgling, 
of cold clear water 
tumbling over timeworn boulders 
casts a mesmeric spell on all passersby. 

While the strut of the strider 
and the caper of the crayfish 
fail to escape the attention 
of the patrolling brookie, 
who’s more than willing 
to accommodate them both.

These waters are forever uttering their discourse. 
Their words…have gone out into all the earth. 
Their language…understood by every tongue. 
And to those who would listen, 
they are able to impart and sustain life.

Water is our common bond 
and the indispensable fabric of life.
Without it, 
life as we know it, 
would cease to exist.

The one thing that separates 
this veritable garden oasis 
from the waste howling wilderness 
is the plenteous provision of rain 
that graces these slopes ~

image004.jpg (68638 bytes)

~~ Hea                                                                        dwaters~ 
~The Headwaters~


The River by Randy Cyr

copyright 2003