Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Child of the Sun

Child of the Sun
: a poem adapted from Carl Sandburg's Chicago

Life force for a world
Log floater, transporter
Player with laborers and the Nation's tourists
Murky, threatening, seductive --
River of the Northwest:

They tell me you are polluted and I believe them, for I have seen
Your mines under the dark mountains destroying life.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true
I have seen the backward twists and rocky falls.
And they tell me you are pitiless and my reply is: on the faces of
Parents and loved ones I have seen the tragedy of drowning.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at
This my river, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another river with its thousand feet running so
Smooth to meet the great Columbia and so vibrant, and strong and teeming,
Flinging its golden droplets a million ways down rock after rock,
Here a dappled trout leaps to meet the sun set bright against the dark soft stream;
There an angler, all boots and rod, holding back the current, cunning and quiet
As a savage anticipating the run of the buffalo
Casting, circling, recasting,
Under the blue, dew all over his beard, laughing with white
Under the awful burden of creativity, eyes shining as a young boy's
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost
a battle,
Bragging and laughing that in his wrist is the pulse, and in
his chest is the heart of a man,
Shining the brilliant, passionate, planning genius of Man,
Half-river, striving, proud to be Logger, Hunter,
Laborer, guide and life force
to a Nation.

*Update: Published in Gonzaga's Reflection Spring 2009 issue. Read about it here.


William Michaelian said...

I like it. But don’t let that scare you. Maybe just worry you a little.

~im just only me~ said...

well! you do have rather dubious taste, but I'm brave, and grateful :). I have been a little worried however that Eliot might use this as a prime example of bad poetry!

William Michaelian said...

I doubt he will. He’s a lot nicer now that he’s dead.