Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Have Met My Match

Life is difficult. Water just wants to join with itself and seeks a straight path to that. Unfortunately for water, there are serious obstacles and demands along the way.

Most water stays ocean bound. Some water gets sucked up, drawn away from itself, shanghied as it were. It is forced to travel high in the air and fall someplace it might not choose.

If it is really unlucky water descends in the far north or south, or high enough up that it might get stuck, perhaps exiled. If it is more fortunate then it falls where there is more chance to find the ocean again. That is what happens so long as some crack in the earth doesn't catch it and store it for aeons. There is some water that gets waylaid by biology and cycles through the interactions with complex hydrocarbons. Some water may actually spend some time in the hydrocarbon cycle or even get stuck in petrified bones for aeons too.

I think water prefers staying in oceans over all the alternatives. If it is taken up by the heat of the sun, then I think it prefers a quick return.

Maybe this is an ecology poem.

I Have Met My Match

I am a river
that met its match at the cliff.

I have fallen off,
turned to a cascade,
a mist drifting on the wind,

can no longer float
your boat as I wish.

Consider this your warning
to get off my back.

April 27, 2009 12:03 PM


  1. Wonderful poem here, Christopher, and very apt to this moment of climate change. I particularly love your play on words.

  2. Elisabeth, thanks for that. I don't know how far "float your boat" and "get off my back" travels in the global experience of English. Obviously some of my Australian and English friends should do all right. I wonder about the people who are using English as a second or third language. I think the poem doesn't lose all coherence without the slang phrasing but there is no doubt this poem is richer with the double meanings in these phrases.

    I am really grateful for the grace I sometimes experience in my writing. I am particularly delighted with this poem and some others like it because I came across the word play quite by serendipity. These phrases just appeared by themselves.

  3. Reading this, at first I thought the river had met the cliff-face and been forced to turn aside. I didn't see the falling in it until I'd read it over. Silly of me; it was quite obvious. Maybe I just wanted to see a meeting in it, a kiss between water and land, rather than the land falling away, becoming unreliable.

    So I walked the shore
    seeking clues of love’s retreat
    etched in low-tide sands

  4. That is an interesting reading, Rachel. I had not thought of that. The relationships between river and cliff and boat shift depending on how you take "match". The whole poem works your way too. :D

    This poem approaches an ideal, I think. One of the aims of a poem is to be so intelligible and so ambiguous that any person in any circumstance can come to the metaphors and find a path without hard digging.

    Damn! I can't make this shit up. I am a victim of the poem fairy. She sneaks in and tweaks things as I go. She craves anonymity and tries to make all this my fault.

    I had not read "met its match" as a statement of good fit. That is as correct a reading as a statement of defeat or a statement of a turning point.

  5. Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
    her placenta falls to the floor
    the angel opens her eyes
    the confusion sets in
    before the doctor can even close the door

    Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
    her intentions fall to the floor
    the angel closes her eyes
    the confusion that was hers
    belongs now, to the baby down the hall

    oh my feelin it comin' back again
    like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
    forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
    I can feel it....

    lightning crashes
    Songwriters: Kowalczyk, Edward;Taylor, Chad;Dahlheimer, Patrick;Gracey, Chad

    forces pulling from the center of the earth, i guess....

  6. Ghost, my friend, you seem to be looping with ever longer cyber-elastic bands. I fear that one day the band will be worn enough and snap. Then I would no longer have the cinammon scent of your ectoplasm in my room to remind me of my impermanence.

    You are weightless. There is no need for you to get off my back.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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