River Song: a poem in honor of the French Broad River

I’m sharing this today as I’m thinking about the Osun veneration on the river this coming Sunday.


River Song
By Byron Ballard

Look at Her broad back.
Brown as tobacco after rain,
Thin as the back of my granny’s hand in the hot of august.
Watch Her, though—She can’t much be trusted.
1916 She came a-calling.
1928 She came a-calling.
1940 She came a-calling.
2004 She came a-calling.

Tahkieostee Aqigua Poelico Zillicoa

She answers to all those names
when She answers at all.
‘cause She is busy even in the dry months
And She is old, too old to stand still and wait for you or me, to ask our dumb questions.

She preens like a snake in the sun, writhing past us northward
You know who’s older?
The New River.
The Nile.
Not even these old mountains, the grandmother mountains of the world—
Not even these old mountains are older than She.

Tahkieostee Aqigua Poelico Zillicoa

She flowed crazy northward when the big plates starting crashing together.
Hills rose and She went on.
Mountains reached the sky,
And She went on.
Mountains got old and low
And She went on.
Ain’t She something this old river, this old mother?
Ain’t She something, making Her crazy way north—what kind of river rolls upside-down like that?
My kind of river, my old river.
Tahkieostee
Aqigua
Poelico
Zillicoa

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