To the River

Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey

I will run to the River
saying River cleanse me!
Wash away the stain of years
in the fierce current of your flow
Chill down my fevered brain
in the milt of your melt
‘til healed I hear again

‘til healed I see again
grace written in the sky
in thunderhead & vapor trail
healed I hear again whisperings
of grace among the pine trees
along the coulee’s ridge
I will run to the River

say River cleanse me!
You are the snowflake
which brings all souls to sea
You are the cataract carves stone
fills the shore`line with sand
Older than all that lives
Mother to all creation

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” ~ John Muir


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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11 Responses to To the River

  1. This reminds me of my spiritual baptism in 2012. No one there but me, the river, and God. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Naaman: Why couldn’t Elisha come out to meet me? The waters at home are better than the Jordan; why can’t I just cleanse myself in those?
    Naaman’s servant: Why can’t you just trust him and do it?


    • And so he did . . . So he did . . . A curious tale in which an outsider’s servant rose to faithfulness, while the prophet’s servant fell into disgrace . . . My question: Can nature help us to understand from the outside what the dogmas of the church have tried to teach us from within? Well versed in the latter, I am now fascinated by the former. Thanks for the stimulating thoughts . . .


      • Ooh, I like your comparison of the servants. It is not an angle I’ve considered before. I also like your question about nature/the church. I believe that nature can help us to understand, both after we’ve studied within the church and before. We all have a longing for God, even though many of us don’t recognize what/who we’re seeking. Nature can be an effective player in leading us to that which we seek. I’m discovering that the key is recognizing that we are all individuals (called by God differently), so while we can try to lead others in what has worked for ourselves, we should be patient, and thankful that the person in question has taken those first steps. I’ve explored (a little) that calling of God in one of my poems: As a matter of fact, I’d have to say that all of my writing and artistic pursuits grapple with questions about God and faith, because I grapple with them daily.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Love the imagery in ‘No Place to Hide’: makes me think of the parable of the prodigal son which is usually seen as about the repenting prodigal or about his unreconcilable brother but I think is actually about an extraordinary father who daily makes his way to the gate where he watches confidently for his son’s return. When he sees him he runs to meet him [middle`eastern old men NEVER run as it is a humiliation in that in order to run he has to hike up his robes and his underthings are visible!] he runs to meet and greet him not as a failure but as his successful son who was lost and is found again! Always appreciate chatting with any one who in her poetry seeks the fingerprints of the Creator which are upon every aspect of the creation . . . Blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Back and Forth – The Ruff Draft

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