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Sunday, June 25, 2017

River God

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?


  1. Lovely poem. World-wide, though, rivers were generally associated with goddesses, not gods. Anuket was goddess of the Nile, and Satis was goddess of the annual Nile flood (Nephthys ruled other Egyptian waterways). Ganga is goddess of the Ganges. Celtic river goddesses included Boann (R. Boyne), Clota (R. Clyde), and Sequana (R. Seine). African river goddesses include Yemoja and Oshun; the Aztecs had a river goddess I can't spell or pronounce. There are many more across various continents.

    It's a pity our Judeo-Christian world-view doesn't make more metaphors for the feminine power conceived by those ancient spiritual imaginations. Perhaps our contemporary world would be less out-of-balance than it is.

  2. Thank you for the comment. I wasn't thinking of "god" as gendered here. But the point is well-made and -taken.