Max Reif

Rookie - 58 Points (1948 / OVER 400 POEMS SERVED! !)

(.........Aug26) The River Of Ordinary Moments - Poem by Max Reif

Because living is a river of ordinary moments,
each moment connected to the next,
there is nowhere we can go to escape
from our fate which is to merge
every swell of the stream
back into the ordinary,

and all I can hope for is that gentle, light
sense of well-being as my little canoe bobs
in the current of everyday,
sailing downstream, ever downstream.

I am stunned by the beauty of the ordinary,
so that sometimes the ordinary seems mis-named, and yet
it is ordinary because it is quiet with no fanfare:

a man picking his way through the oranges
at the farmer's market,
a woman taking a leisurely bath,
a child playing in the grass in the back yard,
all the people in a street just walking.

No one is enthroned above every one else,
this river is absolutely democratic,
every thrill, every intoxication flows on downstream
as does, sooner or later, every sorrow, every loss,
though those are a little harder,
the hole seems to take longer for the waters to fill.

No one is famous to the ordinary,
you can't impress it.
The ordinary is the real wife of every man,
the real husband of every woman.
It is where you return from all your expeditions,
and it is all anyone could ever truly want.

And so today, when I received fulfillment
of a certain small desire I'd had as a poet,
and I felt hands starting to tug at me inside,
trying to take me somewhere,
trying to hoist me on their shoulders
and parade me through the streets,

it was like the dividing was beginning
of everything from everything else.
I felt the walls of 'I' begin to solidify
and separate me from everything,
the way a butterfly feels
sitting on a branch in the sun,
waiting for his wings to dry and chitin to harden
after crawling from his chrysalis,
ready after that to preen and flit and die,

and I reply to those voices, 'No, thank you',
and I say to those tugging hands, 'No, thank you',
I do not want to be
taken from the flow of the ordinary
to any pinnacle or promontory from which
I will only have to climb, or fall, down again,

I do not want to be special in that way,
I want the tick of thoughts in my mind to run out
and the storehouse of thoughts to be emptied
and not replaced by any others,

I want to disappear, disappear
and become that current
that all distinct drops are lost in, and then
the ocean into which all rivers go to die


Comments about (.........Aug26) The River Of Ordinary Moments by Max Reif

  • (12/5/2008 6:32:00 AM)

    Max, something told me to read you today. I didn't know what poem to choose just delved in and the title caught my eye. The imagery in this is absolutely superb, wonderful in fact. Those ordinary moments and the thought process behind the poem make me stand back in awe. I'm adding this to my favourites, I was captivated by every line. Do hope you're well. HG: -) xx (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (9/7/2007 3:23:00 AM)

    If anyone presented this glorious piece to me without revealing its author and asked me to guess who wrote it, I'd say 'Max' without hesitation. The third stanza - which I wish I had written myself - says it all; your trademark to my mind is to observe that which usually goes unnoticed, to glory in it and bring it to the attention of your blinkered reader. This is going down as a favourite. It flows from beginning to end as the river you employ as analogys so skilfully. Dammit, I wish I'd written the whole piece... t x (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, April 1, 2011


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]