portion of the artwork for Sean Farragher's poem

Modern Rivers
Sean Farragher
(posted on Sean’s blog Saturday, October 28, 2006, but written long before)


        This Hudson,
        this awful fish—
        sleek in its tongue,
        tender in its mouth,
        wet from dear fingers.


First, Woman:

I began above you
in the passage
of waves upon waves
I hear your eyes turn,
race to the chatter of muscles;

Inside, my face rests
at the night
of your smile;
your legs quit;
your heat slows,
an hallucination
for the hereafter;
I am long past hunger.

2.
In your kiss,
I speak pressed
to the below of your legs,—
your arms a lost space
before separation.
I am a forgotten space
before divorce
In the historical self
I am not last there
(nor above you)
Here with the before woman
and the afterwards—
I love the odor of loss,
a late walk when the air is plenty,
and the miracle has two faces
I am quiet in my mask—
beauty entangled
in the sin of tenderness;
such dishonor
when the water
crowds upon us;
passion of change
is forever a blossom
of a woman dressed
in wonderful.

Then Man:

I was truth.
I wanted miracles
all forms of love
and abundance—
rest here,
take home the delight
of husband and father;
I am them.

2.
I knew how I loved some
of all faces, longer and smaller
the turn of all voices;
above the journey I am older,
forgotten when angry—
I know she loves me.

It is irreverent to ask
again about patience.

Once, she slept in my arms;
We rested through darkness,
beyond windows to enchantment;
no proof for amusement—
only the wait
of great divers
for the crease
in the cliff
to be swallowed;
then regression,
a pause before exile.

3.
My dear friends;
we are the safety of passion
above all modern rivers;
fate is alone when we meet.

Then the River:

        In cold Hudson,
        no witness
        but November.


Above the Mountains
that look like trees
dark appears to itself;
all mist lost;
the river, gray,
its blood brown—
the waters move
through my hand
where I glide
down clean rocks
below the face
my love gave me;

I learn how to fly
this last November;

How easy to swim
above the horizon.

2.
The river is awhile
in the trance of morning;

The River within
is a slight
reorder of motion;

Breached by the flood
a blank age
appears to itself

(Honor and glory
reserved for our turn
downstream)


Where the tide
is chance
and I am not found—
my body has no witness
fantasy is terror
the rivers never
stop watching
the mountain has feet
and fancy no shudder.

I examine the manner
of my listening;
The Hudson arranged
in pure spirit—
great is the sigh.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 40 | Spring 2013