Old Man River

In the picture—winter brown,

an icy river winds its way

past the evening’s frozen ground,

rolling slowly south, around

the beauty of its younger day.


Once it was a glacial run,

racing over rocks and spills,

strong and shining in the sun,

moving boulders—never done

raging through the ragged hills.


Oh, the wild and white cascade!

The glory days—when hunters, who

learned the river and then made

their living on its shores by day—

rode the waves in birch canoes.


Now it’s flat, and wide of girth;

the surface looks as if it sleeps.

Yet underneath, it surges forth,

pushing borders, moving earth,

deeper than its early youth,

stronger for the course it keeps.


In our winters, we may find

a fluid strength, a deeper truth,

and beauty of a different kind—

less the surface, more of mind,

drifting closer to divine,

past the season of our youth.




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