05 April 2017

April Down by the Riverside

April 2009

Let’s say the sounds before all words
to acknowledge the bones and lost homelands 
always beneath our feet, under carpets
and ironworks, cement and pine needles.

Let’s use the words we know to shape the love
blooming here in forsythia and dogwood,
rooting here in green and brown shades of trees,
grass and bushes, holding shores of rivers.

Let’s note riverbeds overflowing with
ice melt and rain, with danger and hope,
with poisons and tears and fish and blessings.
Let’s wade in. Let’s restore spirit and soul.

(My soul returns to the Hudson River
where snow dots spongy ground in early spring,
where Dutch met with Mohican and Pequot
peoples before wars and land grabs began.)

Down by riversides at sunrise, let words
honor Mother and Father and sisters 
and brothers.  Let’s stay to practice giving,
healing and shouting the sounds before words.

Let’s watch branches glow and grass green while
music flows down by the riverside, let’s
renew right here and now, this side and that,
while sun rises, crosses above, and sets.

      For my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ April

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

Craig Adams - Down by the riverside - Live at Jazz à Juan 2011

Cut Down Version of "April Riverside":

original words
acknowledge bones
and lost homelands 
under carpets and ironworks
cement and pine needles

how words shape
love blooming
forsythia and dogwood
rooting green and brown
shades of trees, grass and bushes
lining river banks

overflow with
ice melt and rain
poisons and tears
fish and blessings
spirit and soul.

My river is the Hudson in early spring;
snow dots and spongy ground
residue of 17th century Dutch
meeting Mohican
and Pequot peoples

Riverside sunrise rites
honor Mother and Father
sisters and brothers
honor giving and healing
sing original words

Branches glow
grass greens
music flows
sun rises
crosses above
and sets.



Thotpurge said...

healing and singing words before all words... this is a beautiful message. Honour the past, heal the scars and sing with nature...isn't that the way it was meant to be!

Therisa's World said...

Of the two versions, I prefer the full-length version, over the truncated one.I feel like, as a reader, am getting the full picture, of Hudson River Valley, from the past, to the present, with all of its glory and warts, too.

Old Egg said...

Over the last few years I have become pretty depressed with the treatment of our heritage and the beautiful world we live in all in the name of profit and greed. We have a difficuly time ahead of us wherever we live in this world to save it so our descendants can see and experience how wonderful it is.

Gillena Cox said...

Though i luv minimalist forms, i have to say, with this one, i much much prefer the longer version. The musicality of your poem extends into the rhythm of the video.
And, luv the slide of those greats shoes in the video,

Wow! i just lingered here today, completely mesmerized in a very good way

much love...

Sumana Roy said...

a wonderful pair...in the vast canvas of the first one, 'before wars and land grabs began.' stare at me in tears...sigh...

Unknown said...

The river so reminiscent of life and Spring is a healing time to be sure. Wish I could share some of our rain with Uganda and other drought lands.
Happy April

Myrna R. said...

I think both versions are beautiful. The combine joy and sadness in a unique way.

indybev said...

Your beautiful words call to my mind the words of the wise old native American, Chief Seattle, who said, in part, "At night, when the streets of your cities and villages shall be silent, and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land."

Mary said...

I enjoyed your vision of April, Susan. Indeed, let's wade in that river and restore spirit and soul. We all definitely could use restoration. Loved your last stanza....with the branches glowing and the grass greening & oh that music down by the riverside! You are a talented poet, Susan.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love the first version. I especially love the forsythia and dogwood (forsythia is one of my fave early spring blooms), and the description of the Hudson River.

Cressida de Nova said...

The first version flows like the river. I love that song too.

Poppy said...

So much of April has to do with restoration, rejuvenation, and renewal. Your last stanza beautifully sums up this process, having pondered on the magic of what comes before it. I prefer the longer version for its melodic narration, desiring all the details of spring's story.


Kerry O'Connor said...

This made me think of many rivers (strange, because I had just written a poem using a river motif before reading yours) and it impacted on my mind the enduring metaphoric meaning of these vital bodies of water. That we name them, shows how important they are.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh, you quite transported me to that different world! In this case I don't think the cut-down version works as well.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The long version sings to my soul. However, I will have to be content with the riverside visions you craft so beautifully, for here in my portion of the desert, no river flows.

Intelliblog said...

I too, like the longer poem better, Susan. There is such timelessness and permanence and grandeur in it, yet at the same time a fragility is expressed... Lovely!