23 September 2014

People of Continually Flowing Waters

The Fairmount Water Works on the Schuylkill River.

Every river speaks of lost nations
their dinner menus, dwellings and crossings.

Here on the Schuylkill, it’s the Lenape
forgotten, and on the Hudson River,
it’s Mahican.  Their descendants live far
away in Wisconsin and Canada.

I hale from Eurasian riversthe Rhine,
Mosel and Volga—and know nothing of
them.  Maybe males led Caucasian lines while
females guided American Natives.
Add  people of the Euphrates, Congo
and Nile.  Add color from every river.

Let People of Every River bring pot-
luck to our tables and add their purest
river water to our common drinking
fountain.  Let the celebration commence:
We are free of pollution and full of
respect; We are eager to listen to
each other’s stories and enrich our own;
We dedicate ourselves to rivers’ flow.

Posted for my own prompt at 

"The People of the Continually Flowing Waters" seems to be a collective name for the Mahican and other Algonquin-speaking peoples along the Hudson River in New York State down along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers in Pennsylvania and as far east as Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  I do not mean to co-opt or injure anyone by using the words.  Please let me know if I do.

Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast


Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I love how this opens Susan--I come from mountains--and so my people learned to eke out a living from scrub--Love this idea in general!!

Mary said...

This poem is very, very moving, Susan. Just like a river. I'd never thought of rivers in quite this way. I really like "Add color from every river." Definitely each color should be represented in the flow.

Grace said...

Such a beautiful celebration Susan ~ I lift my glass to all the nations stories and colors ~ Love the whole post ~

Sumana Roy said...

This is the story of the human race at its height of evolution....brilliant...

Laurie Kolp said...

So rich with culture, Susan, although you had me worried for a minute with "pot" as an end word... = )

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this poem so much - "let us bring potluck to the table"......your closing lines are a rallying song to the masses, to gather as human beings at our common table. Loved this! Love the river running through it.

Anjum Wasim Dar said...

A global celebration of River Civilizations- if it is 'to let them bring ' it can also be ;Let us go to as many Waters as we can' for 'each little flower that opens each little bird that sings' each river flows to the seas and oceans merge to flow along all lands...'so truly we can share and enrich each others lives and make peace...This poem is powerful in imagery and message

Old Egg said...

How effective this poem is to illustrate the way forward while turmoil is all around us. Your beautiful words were so full of hope.

Gen Giggles said...

A great poem for those of mixed heritage. I love the river motif.

rallentanda said...

We are a melting pot of cultures these day which should diminish differences between people.

Jae Rose said...

I love the notion of jumping into a community where a river of words carries us along in some kind of shared experience..flowing water seems like room for change and growth

dsnake1 said...

there is so much joy in this lovely poem. it is said that rivers are the cradle of civilizations.
for a second i was wondering what "pot" was doing in your poem (and i wasn't thinking about pots and pans). :D

PT said...

Yes...rivers are the great sites of culture, heritage and civilization, nicely written!

Grandmother Mary said...

This poem is so inclusive and celebratory. I love it.

poetjanstie said...

So very appropriate for 100K Poets for Peace, Susan. There is so much poetry in this poem: metaphor, implied meaning, both ordinary comprehensible language and interesting words and references. It is also, as another comment says, moving, because it draws on the lessons of history, which those sections of society hell-bent on economic 'progress' choose to ignore.

Victoria said...

I used to live on the Schuylkill (Scranton/Wilkes Barre) and now am just a block from the Truckee--fed by Lake Tahoe and pitifully low right now because of drought. For me, rivers are a source of both beauty and life. How sad to see when pollution takes over. And here in Reno, it's the Washoe and Paiute history that we cherish.

Anonymous said...

Susan, this is profoundly beautiful. The river as both metaphor and history resonates. The message is strong.

Thank you for joining us this week on The Bardo Group blog for 100,000 Poets for Change. Your contribution is valued.

Warmest regards,
Jamie Dedes

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