Joe Brough

The River - Poem by Joe Brough

A boy walked over a bridge, and looked at the beautiful river below,
The river that he wanted so.
But that river, he knew,
Had a current so swift
And a dropp too much
So much that he could not take the plunge.
Until one day an old man came by, and asked him why
Why he, all the time, would stare at the river,
With eyes so wide
And stare at it for so long,
And never leave the bridge.

He said that he could walk over to another bridge, where another river would be held,
A beautiful river, he said, with a current that I could handle so.

But the boy looked, and said:
I’ve been to that river,
Been to all the rivers around.
I’ve watched them,
I’ve seen them.
I’ve felt them,
I’ve heard them,
I’ve waded them,
I’ve swam them,
I’ve rowed them,
But never jumped them.

Because the only river I will ever jump is this, and this is just the river I will jump.

The man looked back at the poor young lad, and said,
Well, if you want to jump, then why not do so?

The boy replied:
Because I know
When I take this fall,
I will break my legs,
I will be hurt
And I may be spewed away.

The man replied:
Which do you care for more, your own self or being with this river?
For if you do plunge,
You may be hurt, and this river might carry you away, but would you stand here and wait to see?

And if it takes you back, you may be not where you want to be, but where you are destined to be.
Where you will journey to be.

But if you jump, and it does not take you back, it will take you far away, where I know you want to go,
And this river will lead.

The boy came in and said:
Yes old man, I know that certainly!
But I know that this river might not take me away if I wade in it, talk to it, listen to it, row in it, and swim in it!
I do not want to jump because I know that once I do, I can never jump again.
I want to jump when I can know that it will take me!

The man replied:
You will never be certain of what this river will do of you.
You must have hope, faith!
How long do you plan to wait? For you may die before you even wade!
You must not sit up, and stare at this river.
Most of you want to jump too fast,
You must embrace your feeling,
And go,
Go wade,
Go jump!
For staring at the river will do nothing.
No matter if you break all the bones in your body,
You will feel the river,
And the river will feel you.
For if your desire for this river is so, why care about any bone in your body.
Jump. It might take you away!
For If you love this river more than you, you will jump!

The boy walked over to the side of the bridge, and asked for the man’s name

The man replied:
I am the river,
Not the river you see,
But the river you will become.

The boy smiled, thanked the man, and jumped.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 5, 2011

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