Re-Crossing Rivers

The original ~ the second poem I posted here at WordPress, 02 April 2014:

Crossing Rivers

late March
under a cloudy sky
bundled in my mother’s arms
feeling the roar
of the mighty falls

early morning light
on the bank of the river
waters calm
my father’s float
drifting in the current,
bobbing with each tiny bite

weightless, beneath the surface
sunlight diffused at depth
freedom imagined
with each breath drawn
at the mercy of the current

beside those awe-­inspiring falls
camera in hand
capturing images
of the towering, deafening roar

hiking in the gorge
below those mighty falls
recording water so blue
pounding, rushing past,
until, at last,
flowing into the lake,
past it’s glass-­pebbled shore

a bridge of light
impressive in the night
fading, receding
in my rearview mirror
the river vivid, still,
in memory

another river crossed
highway of the heartland
massive in its breadth,
nearing a new life

on new waters
kayaking along the Big Muddy
and the murky rivers feeding it
eagles overhead
small consolation
for the blue grandeur of Niagara

My revision:

Crossing Rivers

beneath a March sky
bundled in my mother’s arms
feeling the thunder
of the mighty cataract

dawn’s light on the river’s shore
my float beside my father’s
drifts in the current, bobbing
with each nibble

sunlight diffused at depth
weightless, suspended
freedom in each breath
bubbles cradled by the current

beside those towering falls
camera in my hand
captures the light
held by the deafening roar

hikes within the gorge
below that cataract
recording water so blue
pounding, rushing
flowing to the lake,
and it’s glass-pebbled shore

a bridge of light fading
in the night as it recedes
in my rearview mirror
the river still vivid
in memory

another river crossed
highway of the heartland
massive in its breadth,
a new life approaches

a kayak floats on the Big Muddy
and the murky rivers feeding it
eagles overhead little consolation
for Niagara’s blue grandeur

This is my response to MTB, Write like a dog, edit like a cat…,
the prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.
“Uncanny” is not my style, but perhaps this is more memorable.

The “bridge of light” referenced in the poem, left behind when I moved from New York
to Missouri, is the Peace Bridge, an international bridge connecting Buffalo, New York,
and Fort Erie, Ontario, the same bridge that appears at the top of my page.

               Ken

31 thoughts on “Re-Crossing Rivers

  1. Uncanny ain’t for everyone – I like what you’ve done here – subtle shifts and rearrangement have sharpened your ‘after’ poem. Even your last lines – ‘for the blue grandeur of Niagara’ becomes ‘for Niagara’s blue grandeur’ is sharper – without the superfluous ‘for the’ – and placing the word ‘grandeur’ at the end of the line – is like a final chord in your song to this wonderful river.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I make lots of revisions while composing a poem (w/o hesitating, w/o saving all variations) and never look back. But I have a reluctance to mess with an older poem, in that it captured “me” at the time written and I want to preserve that not “modernize” … yet, sometimes I do tweak a few phrases for improved readability. Revision’s a struggle, though, with a not-new poem.
    I like both versions you present here – with one yesss! at “bubbles cradled by the current” – love the retake on this line!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to over-save revisions as I write, but with copy/paste at least I can have several versions on a page. “bubbles” was added to “cradled by the current” at the very last second – in fact, as I was cleaning up the WordPress edit. Thank you, Jazz.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the clarity in the second poem, Ken, and how a few simple changes changed the flow of the narrative to move through the ages of your relationship with the river. “My float beside my father’s” and the “camera in my hand” become important differences for my own comprehension. Really love your water imagery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your revision has given the poem some heft, Ken, made the falls palpable, especially the shift from ‘feeling the roar / of the mighty falls’ to ‘feeling the thunder / of the mighty cataract’. You have also retained the sparkle of the first version, with the lines:
    ‘sunlight diffused at depth
    weightless, suspended
    freedom in each breath
    bubbles cradled by the current’
    and the ‘bridge of light’. I’m so glad your held on to the ‘glass-­pebbled shore’.

    Liked by 1 person

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