Kirk Klasson

Standing in the James

Standing in the James

by Kirk M. Klasson


You can learn a lot

by standing in the James,

how your feet won’t fall

exactly where you put them

and balance dearly purchased

is a gift that seldom lasts


You’ll feel it slowly giving way,

caught in the relentless tow,

and when you reach to right yourself

and find a better stance,

your hands can’t trust your eyes

to find the certainty they grasp


Wading in the host

of runnels and ravines,

familiar obligations disappear,

and cares like errant waves hurry

to appointments you no longer plan to keep,

leaving you alone to plumb

a moment everlasting

Here you’ll slowly understand

the habits of the glint-eyed stream,

how it quickens and swells

with the slightest rain

and lingers in the lee of a fall,

and wiles the summer tide in idle contemplation

conversing with the maidencane

embroidered near the shore


How playfully it stoops and glides

while racing through the rocks,

coursing in a braided mane

it poises for an instant just

before the steeper drops,

like a boy before a daunting leap,

set upon his haunches,

lets go his closest fears

and launches to the pool below


But no matter how often you trespass,

pausing to plot your way,

or how many moments taken

pondering how the river

stole the ocean’s song,

everywhere you look you learn

you really don’t belong


The ruined piers, the broken trees,

the scoured, breaching stones

have been where you are standing now

and sense the awe you know,

forsaken and forlorn they wait,

the river’s fast companions,

and bid you not to stay too long


Copyright 2013 Kirk M. Klasson




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