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Apr 2012
the river flows as
living memory

the birds of the
Nile are its
knowing eyes

fly catchers
ply the rich
delta
probing
sediments
of sand
washed
from
distant
Nubian
mountains
eons
ago

layers of
recollection
go fathoms
deep

shrieking
gulls
plumb the
mud flats
with heroic
persistence
as they did
when the
first rafts
drifted out
of the
Great Rift
ferrying
civilizations
forebears
to the
opening chapters
of world history

the first
seafarers
competed with
greedy spoonbills
to navigate
porous
papyrus
crafts
through
the narrow
channels
of the
Damietta,
transporting
ideas, skills
and goods
to build an
emerging
world

mallards
troll the
same
gentile
eddies that
goaded the
Mother of
All Waters
to float the
basket cradling
Yahweh’s
infant prophet
Musa, into the
loving arms
of Bithiah
who nurtured
the vanquisher
of Osiris’
galleries of
Gods

a litany
of conquests
rolled on the
silver waves
of this river

conquerors
maneuvered
the truculent
currents
like sharp
eyed hawks
skimming the
pliant waters
with well
extended
razor quick
talons
picking the
Nile’s bounty
clean

this fertile
delta remembers
more than
6,000 seasons
of harvests

the
cycles of time
has produced
seasons of plenteous
abundance and
desperate privation
all cleverly exploited
by generations of
fearless herons
who wrangled
the demons
of hardship
to route the
dread of hunger
expelling despair
from the Egyptian
DNA, etching
a new hieroglyph
of freedom onto
survivors hearts

the Niles
sorrows
and glories
perpetually
wash this
magnanimous
delta
surely as
the gentle
wakes
of feluccas
continue
to lap its
shore

the marshes
have not withered

the verdant
reeds prosper

flamingos find
the water
rich in fish

in due
season
the red
lotus will
paint
the arcuate
alluvial
fans in
scarlet
autumnal
hues

In the
Valley of
the Kings
the shadows
of migratory
flocks mark
the foundation
stones of the
pyramids
as they did
when slaves
pushed them
into place

the eternal
lines of
pharaohs
rule has fallen,
their gods
imprisoned
in hieroglyphs
adorning their
royal tombs
on display
in the worlds
museums

the weathered
pyramids continue
to crumble

the face of
the sphinx
withers away

torrents of
blood flowed
in this rivers
currents, now
strained clear
by the reeds
anchoring
its banks

the fleeting
rule of regimes
are pictured
as momentary
reflections
skimming along
the ripppling
water; the
rise and fall
of rulers is
captured like
the shifting hues
sunrises and
sunsets bespeak
upon the waters

the ascending
waves of
the Sacred Ibis
dance atop
the Nile’s gray
waters; the
river jumps
to life as the
graceful wings
take flight
to foreign
destinations;
expecting
to return
again as
the cycles
of seasons
round once
more

as the Nile flows
its memory deepens
the eyes of the birds
watch and remember


Music Selection:
Gary Bartz, I've Known Rivers

Oakland
3/31/12
jbm
James Bradley McCallum
Written by
James Bradley McCallum  M/New Jersey
(M/New Jersey)   
5.6k
   Roger Turner - Poet and ---
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