Lined with rushes, the river waters shimmer with sky;
a cloud ripples over the water.

           (The river sings her song of beauty.)

An osprey, feathered fish-bird, chases prey
in the cloud-shadowed waters.

           (The river sings her song of hunger)

Sycamores on the banks, white skin peering through brown bark,
the ghosts of my ancestors drinking from the river.

           (Now the river sings her song of remembrance)

A father, fishing with his son as the sun sets,
berates him for being a poor fisherman.

           (Then the river sings her song of anger)

A man on the bridge on a moonless night
throws a gun into the water.

           (And the river sings her son of redemption)

New converts gather at the river’s edge
to wash away their sins.

           (The river sings her song of forgiveness)

Two lovers entwined on the bank
whisper words of love.

           (And the river sings her song of passion)

The river flows into the salty depths of the sea
singing the song of man.

           (and the sea sings his song of peace)


Douglas Cooper lives in the mountains north of Asheville, NC, with his wife and three pets. He enjoys gardening, hiking and music. He has a BA in English from the University of West Florida, and attended many workshops with poet Francis Quinn. His work appears in Crosswinds Poetry Journal.