What the River Says


What the River Says 16X20

I love this picture because it represents the river through Spokane and the dramatic turbulence of the water with the turbulence of the sky.  They both have their frames in the shorelines and buildings.  The wild force of the river among the solidity of the land.  They each have a language, a voice: the river louder and more forceful, a closer representative to the motion of time – its borders hint at the channels and trends that carry the time metaphor further.

And while this is a Spring/Summer scene, with no ice in sight, it reminds me of a poem by William Stafford – one of a handful of poets to master the simplicity of the English language in all its complexity.  His poem called “Ask Me” is available many places online, so I happily reprint it here.


Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made.  Ask me whether

what I have done is my life.  Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait.  We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

– William Stafford


Thank you for indulging my love of images and poetry with our time together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s