The New River Is Old

    The New River Is Old

Father’s Day 2013
Michael Gollin

The New River is old
as the gorge it cut
through upthrust rock,
transecting Appalachian ranges,
a force before our geological time.

Flowing drop by drop through rapids and waves,
ground rock silt washes north to the Ohio,
curling west and south
to the Mississippi Delta
and the Gulf.

We join the flow for a brief ride
floating in blue rafts above grey water,
down and downward but well above the
coursing gush and rush of a valley wet and lush.

Green leaves blanket the steep slopes
soft and fuzzy except for craggy outcrops.
Trees fight to hold their grip,
roots probing cracks for life.

On command, we dig our paddles into white waves,
finding water, not air or rock,
each stroke an act of faith,
legs wedged in, holding on
and enjoying the ride.
It’s just what we came for.

None of us fall out
but, in turns, we jump in and swim.

So high above, like Heaven, the bridge appears
and arches over the take-out beach, from river left to right.
Bungee jumpers, crazed with fear,
would fall and spring back up, but no more.
On Bridge Day (not today) skydivers jump and land right here.

Today – the river flows,
like always, new and old —
and we come
and then we go.


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