Those long ago laborers hauling fish
From the Nile, the Euphrates, the Huang Se,
Cursing and trembling by turns when the river
Over which the sun set
Offered no fish for their nets,
They thought the river was a god
Because It rose and fell, grew angry or lay peaceful,
Because of the blessings it bestowed and its curses,
Because it pursued revenge and gave love by turns,
Because it mirrored the universe.
And does it matter whether the river is a god
Or a metaphor fished from the far bank
By those who had no notion of metaphor?