Water Song


The woods aren’t very deep, but you can

get past where the sound of traffic

reaches, and all you hear is the melody

water makes dropping around rocks,

a complex composition, constantly

changing, modulating, carrying your mind

like a leaf along the surface unless you

make the choice to stay where you stand,

by the side of the stream, and watch

how the water flows around the rocks,

sliding along the jagged blades of ice

that cling to the banks, the few broken

branches that hang into the stream, limp

and swaying with the current. When I

kneel and let the water course around

my hand, the cold shoots the length

of my arm, and even my teeth ache from

the violent chill. I let it stay a minute

more in the water, two, and feel the way

the water moves, courses, the steady

irregularity of current, and I feel

the way the water moves in me—all

blood, muscle, everything water, everything

flowing, flowing—constant motion

while the mind sits still and sings

the song of the water, soft then loud,

soft, then lift my hand from the stream,

shake it dry, and take the long way home.

Allen Hoey has published two novels and five collections of poems, most recently Country Music (2008). In 2009 he will publish a new collection of poems and a mystery. He teaches at Bucks County Community College and directs the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program.

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