Silence, Streams, and Spoken Word

It is written:

“Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.”

It is spoken:

I am the water. Learn from me.

We “stream-lets” that you suggest as inferior for our screaming,
We were formed, thrashing, high above your sea level head.
In harsh conditions, oxygen levels so depleted, our birthing beds so unstable,
That you who wrote that would surely need heavy equipment,
Harnessed helplessly to the crusty ground beneath you,
Just to view our birth process, gushing, splashing, crashing loudly.
Could you survive it? For we stream-lets born of ice and thunder surely did.

I am the water.  Learn from me!

We small streams of liquid life, we formed those clefts and chasms.
We carved out ancient rock, not in silent passing, but with solvent voices shattering,
AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.
Spitting and speaking we made our own way, downward, charging onward, towards you,
Who waited ready with your empty splintered buckets.
We carried those shards of ice, bits of grime, and branches in our bellies,
And now that you are full, you turn away towards your silence and your shelter?

I am the water! Learn from me!

Laughing as we passed, some days we dried up, no longer useful to your leaky pails.
We loudly found another way, our streaming did not stop, we just stopped visiting.
Our width and depth increasing with our travels, and still we shouted at rocks.
Sometimes we leapt off ledges and bellowed the whole way down.
Our beauty built on backs of stones, our gushing echoed in ears, drowning out,
We were not silent then. You came and marveled at our chaos but you did not stay,
Because we brought you headaches and you could not think straight.

I am the water! Learn from ME!

We streams built our own muscles by pushing aside trees and roots and land,
By welcoming other streams and their screaming into our skin.
A food chain for our organs, letting all manner of animals swim in us, drink from us,
We became rivers by allowing ALL of it to live and feed and fuck and die and rot in us.
And still we were not silent.
If you cannot hear us now, our rumbling and churning towards the sea, then you are not listening!
Step in to us unprepared, unaware, and see if you can keep your balance and your silence, you do not have to, scream with us and save yourself.

WE are the water! Learn from US!

— April Resnick

andreermolaevstream

Iceland’s Volcanic Rivers photo by Andre Ermolaev

This poem is better spoken than read, but I have reposted it in remembrance of Maya Angelou and all the other fierce female poets whose poetry pulsed with life, but when read aloud grabbed you in the gut and forced you to feel alive as well.  Goodbye Maya.

~ by April on May 28, 2014.

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