River Men

by Philip Quinlan

ďThe river is no wider from this side than the otherĒ
Epigraph to a site commemorating river men past

Sons of the sky-tinted river, the sidler,
the slick-sided, slow river, over the far side go.
Distance from here is the distance from there,
and the riverís a sidewinder, wonít let you be.

Ferry me over the far side, the high side;
Iím sick of the slick side, Iím ready to go
to the father of waters. Iím bit by the river;
heís ready to take me. The journeyís for free.

Distance from here is the distance from there,
but the river men ride to a far farther shore.
Once the sidewinder takes you, the poison is in you;
youíll never be leaving the river no more.

Youíll never be leaving the river forever,
youíll ride it; youíll ride like your father before.


A   A   A