Where Water Comes Together With Other Water

2014/11/05 § Leave a comment

This evening I’d like to share a poem that hits me at a gut level. Now, I should say this before going on any further: I am a newcomer to poetry generally, and Raymond Carver in particular. Sure I’ve read a few things – Paradise Lost as well as Bukowski – mostly modern stuff though. I suppose I’ve never had much patience for the thing (which is a shame), and I hope to remedy this.

Considering the anxious and tireless obsession with lyrical composition in my youth (another post altogether), I find it sort of odd that it’s taken me so long to find solace in the poetic form.river

This piece is taken from a collection of the same name, published a year before my birth, by Raymond Carver. Carver is know for his particularly minimalistic style, with a focus on blue-collar personalities, connecting him with the dirty realism literary genre.

I remember the first time I read What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. It too hit me on a gut level. I was deeply affected by the stark settings of these stories, complicated and fashioned by the brevity of the dialogues and morose nature of the characters – those characters! Oh, the characters were something else entirely. They were as lifelike and disgusting as any human being I could recall meeting, both in reality and in my own dreams. They were simple, in a way that also hit me on a gut level.

This poem has also served as a source of inspiration for a musical composition I wrote earlier this year.

Well that’s enough blathering for me. Read the poem below.

I love creeks and the music they make.
And rills, in glades and meadows, before
they have a chance to become creeks.
I may even love them best of all
for their secrecy. I almost forgot
to say something about the source!
Can anything be more wonderful than a spring?
But the big streams have my heart too.
And the places streams flow into rivers.
The open mouths of rivers where they join the sea.
The places where water comes together
with other water. Those places stand out
in my mind like holy places.
But these coastal rivers!
I love them the way some men love horses
or glamorous women. I have a thing
for this cold swift water.
Just looking at it makes my blood run
and my skin tingle. I could sit
and watch these rivers for hours.
Not one of them like any other.
I’m 45 years old today.
Would anyone believe it if I said
I was once 35?
My heart empty and sere at 35!
Five more years had to pass
before it began to flow again.
I’ll take all the time I please this afternoon
before leaving my place alongside this river.
It pleases me, loving rivers.
Loving them all the way back
to their source.
Loving everything that increases me.

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