Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There's A Raging River

I wrote this "poem" (using the word loosely) on May 11, 1995.  One of these days I'll write about what prompted it, and I can see some things I might change later, but for now...here it is:

There's A Raging River.  

I've heard the other side has colors!  The side I'm on is black and grey. 
I've heard the other side has birds, other than buzzards and vultures.
I've heard the sun shines over there-it's always covered with storm clouds over here.

But in between rushes a raging river.

I've heard, more than once, "The only way across it is through it."

I tried to close my eyes and pretend I was on the other side, but I couldn't even imagine what it would be like.

Suddenly I felt the water splash in my face bringin me back tot he reality of grey.

I turned my back on it-the water and the idea of better things-but the sound of the water splashing reminded me of my eternal hope.

I ignored it as long as I could.
I even tried telling myself I didn't care to be on the other side.  After all I'd been here my whole life and things weren't that bad.  They could be much worse.  (The raging river looked worse.)

I've heard, more than once, "The only way across it is through it."

What if there are colors, and birds, and flowers over there?
The dream was so good, I wanted it.
The water looked scary, deep, fast, full of the unknown-raging.
I decided getting across couldn't be that hard, so I jumped in.

Before I knew it, I was swept under. 
I was going to drown. 
I had to get out.
I wanted to jump out to the other side, but it was too far to reach.
I had to get out, so I jumped out on the side I jumped in from.

It was even darker than before. 
The grass was almost dead.
The only signs of life were snakes, spiders and mice.

I had to get to the other side.

More than once I had been told, "The only way to get across it it through it."

I tried to build a bridge over it-but quickly found it impossible.

I tried to sail across, and even swim across.

"The only way across it is through it."

The words were like a haunting chant in my mind.
I tried to freeze the top layer of the water and skate across.
For some reason, I only went in figure eights and circles.

Around and around.
I wanted to get to the other side.
Around and around.
I tried harder.
Around and around.
I went faster.
Around and around.
The water was raging, cutting the ice from underneath, and the blades of my skates were thinning it on the top.
The harder I rried and faster I went, the thinner the ice became. 

Suddenly there was a hole.
Once again, I was swept under.
I tried to jump back up onto the ice, but it was breaking all around me.

"The only way across it is through it."
The chant was louder, too loud to ignore.

I was tired of fighting.
I decided to let the water pull me under.
I really thought I would drown.

I didn't!

Now I can see the other side.
I can hear the birds, singing a cheerful melody.
I can smell the fragrant sweetness of the flowers.
I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

I'm not quite there yet, but I'm not giving up.

Although the river is raging,
"the only way across it is through it."


  1. I love it! You captured feelings SO MANY of us have so very eloquently. Bravo!

  2. Very beautiful Dana. :)

    I really can't express what your words on my blog post did for me. God bless you for that!


  3. Just beautiful, Dana! I wish I could write poetry like that, so lovely with symbolism and metaphor!! Just brilliant!!

  4. You know what I kept thinking? (I am currently going "through a raging river"...) When I decide to give it up to God and truly thank him for my struggles instead of fighting him or trying to do things my way, the peace that comes is overwhelming. You truly captured recent thoughts of mine in such a beautiful way. Thank you for this!!

  5. What a great way to say what so many of us have felt. I can never make my thoughts come out that eloquent!

  6. A great analogy..good thing God gives us hip waders n'est pas?

  7. I really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing it with us!