The Dark River

I am floating in a dark river
Sometimes it rages
Sometimes it’s smooth
Always it flows.

When it rages I can hoist the sails
Or drop them as the wind implores
I can fight against the rain and wind,
Dodging the rocks and circumventing the deadly shore.

But when it’s smooth – please, God, let it not be smooth —
When the current gently rocks
Beseeching my mind on and on
Like a slow, unstoppable tidal wave
It turns to a whirlpool of despair.

Ebbing slowly,
As it ebbs boulders into pebbles.
The hollow current,
The empty waves,
Mixing my head with my heart
But without discerning, and without cause.

Just swirling, swirling, swirling.

11 comments on “The Dark River

  1. Boulders into pebbles . . . resonated with me Luke.

  2. This is so true ,the boredom of sameness is a killer . Well done Luke

  3. georgehand

    Another man who favors white noise in the dark.

  4. “Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again“. Paul Simon

    Fine writing Luke. Though I believe your meaning related to a warrior, these lyrics instantly came to mind.

  5. Wow… I have never thought to choose whether I prefer the active battle to the swirling. I always seem to long for fair winds and following seas in those moments, either of them. I have family and friends who dread the quiet, and keep the television going in the background to keep silence at bay. I suppose there are things in the silence that are worse than the constant noise. I should think about that…..and maybe cut them a little more slack.

  6. Perfect, Luke!

  7. I used to need noise in the background all the time. Now I actually enjoy quiet. I get up before everyone else in my house to enjoy peace and quiet. I sit with my coffee in the dark just enjoying the peacefulness before the house comes alive. I understand the need for the noise to drown out the thoughts in your head. I’ve been there. On occasion I need it still. I know people with tinnitus that need noise to drown the noise. I get it.

    Your poem made me recall my mom trying to calm me once while I was in substantial pain in the hospital as a child. She told me to close my eyes and pretend I was a rock in a stream. Water trickling gently over my back and the sun shinning down keeping me warm. Birds chirping in the background. For some reason that visualization helped to calm me and I have used it more than once. Funny how water seems to either bring peace or trauma.

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