Deity, Faith, God, God(s), Happiness, Human Nature, Infatuation, Life, Love, Passion, Poetry, Quality of Life, Religion, Self, Spirituality

A River Runs Beneath Us

(About a 2 minute read)

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ― Rumi

A river runs beneath us called “Life”
That we sip from but do not drink
That once flowed abundantly above ground
When our short legs ran fast
So fast we believed we could
(In just a week or so)
Chase bullets and jump high to catch
The winged wonders of the air.

Strange how it went
The other way.

Something changed.
We became adults long before
Our bodies did,
And the flow of life
Sank beneath our feet,
Feet that were growing and slowing.

Now we are devout

In mimicking thoughts of strangers,
Men and women we call sages,
For the protection their words give
Least we look for ourselves again.

Our gods protect us too
Now that we have buried them
Between us and the river.

We look away from life
With radiant upturned faces,
Though we say we look to find
Eternal love and bliss
In the forever-closer distance.

Our loves protect us now
That we have buried them too.

They lurk in the earth,
From co-dependencies.

We discover in both
Our pleasures and our pains
Useful entertainments
And distractions
From the sound of water.

The water we recoil from,
Preferring a few dry stones:
Remnants of the hours
We come close
To making love.

We hide our fears,
Wrapping them in anger,
In hatreds,
And in anxieties;
Watching screens,
So many screens these days,
While beneath us
The river still flows.

Some day we aim to touch the stars,
Become the cosmic heroes of our dreams
On the soaring mound of lies
We’ve heaped beneath us.

Only the fresh smell of water
Grows fainter by the hour.

11 thoughts on “A River Runs Beneath Us”

  1. I like this. My grey matter was turning brown, but I can feel all the dirt being rinsed away by your poem. It contains a wealth of evocative imagery.

    When we are very young, we feel as if childhood will last forever, as childhood is our only experience of life. When we speak of what we want to be “when we grow up” it’s an abstract concept – something a million miles away. Then it all changes, as it must, but when the change comes our rational minds steal away all the magic. Our aims often become skewed and we get caught in a sheep pen, where we watch each other and copy the most common…

    I’ll stop rambling and say what I meant to say: your poem has inspired me. Since I met the writer I told you about, I’ve written reams of poetry, and it all seems like crap, so I haven’t posted it. I know, Paul, – you warned me about that.

    This post has got my mind working gain. I’ll drag myself out of the dead dog entrails of my children’s addictions and see if I can write something decent, or at least enjoy myself. You wouldn’t believe the gut-churning rubbish that I’ve been tapping away at.

    But first I’ll find out more about what you’ve been doing.


  2. I enjoyed this poem, despite (or maybe because of?) the darker tone. My personal view on aging might be different but I can very much relate to the way you describe life as a river… and using your imagery if one moves away from the water, there is always the possibility to turn around and go skinny dipping again.


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