Sotillos River by Manuel Sosa (oil on canvas)

Sotillos River by Manuel Sosa
(oil on canvas)


The river moves downstream,
silver liquid, self replenishing,
bleached white foam,
surfs the baby waves.
It is the way.
Pulling anything
that frees itself from shore,

It is the only way.

over moss rocks, crystalline transport,
birds call, wind rises,
every leaf and branch slightly sway.
It’s on its way.
It knows things that I once knew
but having stayed on shore too long
they’ve been forgotten.
Benign hypnotic burbling,
no flash floods of surprise and mud,
this moment is only about
filling the air with
gentle roaring, lullaby of movement,
like Life itsel,f liquid fluxing carrier,
all onwards downwards, downstream.
It is the way, making its way down.
“Don’t resist the ride”
it shouts at me above its roar,
“You’re no gray slate boulder
or sun’s hot plate, clinging to shore,
not rock foundation digging in and holding on,
nor a wet sleek bullet of underwater resistance.
“Let go and float,
without filling your pockets
with self defeating stones
that shorten your journey
and plant yourself in pebble- bottomed tombs.
Your destiny is waiting in the stream;
it’s not the way, no river grave your doom”
I hear the constant burble burble
and now I’m letting go,
floating, orbiting, a non -bursting bubble.
It is my way, taking me downstream.
If I am well- constructed from the elements,
If I am made for buoyancy,
then easy be my watery passage left.
It is the way, this way on river’s ceaseless quest,
to float in free repose, downstream,
infused by spirit’s breath.
To know that I’m expected
at the river’s open mouth
where I will be, in waiting seas spit out,
 welcomed then to fathom’s
cold mysterious blue,
swallowed up so gently now
by death’s own brackish truth.

Karima Hoisan
published 2008
Costa Rica

*Footnote: This is an older one, but today I thought again about the ceaselessness of rivers

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2 Responses to Downstream

  1. Hoyt Heron says:

    Oh my! This is great ruca! This should be posted on advertisements for river rafting expeditions. it would be a guide for the traveler as to what to look for. The “eye on the prize” if you will. I don’t think you left out one detail of the stream and its surroundings. Amazing that you have enough room in that lovely head of yours to describe the journey and all that goes with it in such minutia. And the end! So forboding. Such a great metaphor for life. Thank you for this.


  2. Hoyt, thank you for loving this one, born about 5 years ago, sitting by a river along my land in Costa Rica.Yes, I contemplated all the sounds, sights and even smells, a gentle flowing river brings with it. It was sort of a meditation that turned into a poem, and I wrote it on the spot in a notebook I carried. So nice to have you back among my favorite commentators:)


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