river’s destiny

She was the daughter of an Iowa banker;
He was the son of preacher from Illinois
And it was more than the Mississippi
And miles of corn that kept him from his joy

He would go down by the banks of the river
See her hair flash in the noonday light
And watch with a dreaming desperation
That lasted deep into the starry night

Day by day, the greenwood he cut and hewed
Poured in it the buoyant passion he felt
With the patience of a diligent laborer
by the muddy banks he had known so well

Lashed together with cords his hands had woven
Felled tree became the raft of his hope’s hope
Like a plunging spear his tiller coerced the river
In his conspiracy to have this girl to hold

The mighty churning river rebelled at his scheme
Insisted that he try a different direction
And come upon his destiny down in New Orleans
Where his dirge was sung from mere recollection

Now she walks from her father’s bank to the river’s own
Looking across to the green eastern shore
Listening to sermons echoing from the Illinois corn
And hoping for salvation no more.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *