Thursday, May 20, 2021

A blessing for riverbanks

I choose to listen to the river for a while, thinking river thoughts, before joining the night and the stars.
~Edward Abbey


Happy Poetry Friday! This week, I posted a call for submissions for IMPERFECT II: poems about perspective for middle schoolers. Check it out!

On to the celebration of Mary Lee!

My poem for ML was sideways-inspired by Jone. I wrote a blessing for Jone for the Summer Poem Swap (which I haven't sent to her yet -- hi, Jone!) since she wrote a blessing for my National Poetry Month dual language project. Then when I was thinking about what to write for Mary Lee's retirement party, I decided to write another blessing. This time, the jumping-off point is Mary Lee's poem To My Students, which begins, "I am the riverbank."

A blessing for riverbanks
for Mary Lee

Bless those who sustain
the river on its journey,
rejoicing in its tumult
even as the foaming waves
pummel their centers,
scrub their sides.

Bless those who greet
this moment's river
      and this moment's river
           and this moment's river
with love, bless those
who unearth love within
their own most rocky rims.

Bless those who coax
the reluctant river
to keep moving
on days when
the mud is thick,
the sun is warm,
and all directions
feel the same.

Bless those who cannot know
whether this water will find its way
to the sea, but spend their days
harboring its passage
all the same.

********************

Wondering and Wandering has the Poetry Friday round-up. Happy Birthday, Christie!

14 comments:

Denise Krebs said...

Tabatha,

What a wonderful blessing for Mary Lee, the riverbank. There are so many rich images of rivers here, and reading it paired with Mary Lee's poem is perfect. Thank you for sharing. Some of my favorite parts are:
"pummel their centers,
scrub their sides."

and the repetition of "this moment's river"

"Bless those who coax
the reluctant river"

I could keep going! It's beautiful.

Bridget Magee said...

Bless you for this inspired blessing poem, Tabatha! Mary Lee is definitely a 'riverbank' (educator) who is "rejoicing in its tumult". :)

Irene Latham said...

Ah, yes, we cannot know where the water will go... but o joyful rivers! Beautiful, Tabatha. xo

KatApel - katswhiskers.wordpress.com said...

Tabatha. So much beauty in the depths of your poem. So. much!

the mud is thick,
the sun is warm,
and all directions
feel the same.
/
but spend their days
harboring its passage

Thank-you.
đź’™

jama said...

Beautiful blessing, Tabatha!! So inspiring.

Karen Eastlund said...

I riverbank blessing...what a beautiful idea and poem. "This moment's river" is so compelling... I do want to jump in! Thanks for this inspiration.

Michelle Kogan said...

Gorgeous Blessing-poem for Mary Lee! I really like your repeating line
"this moment's river
and this moment's river
and this moment's river"
and the selflessness of your closing lines,
"harboring its passage
all the same."
Thanks Tabatha!

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, my goodness...Tabatha! What a blessing. What language--the tumult and the rocks and that slow mud. such a beautiful way of describing the life of a classroom or life anywhere, really. Thank you for this blessing. It's really beautiful.

Elisabeth said...

There is so much that I love about this poem! I really like how both your and Mary Lee's poems are using the river and riverbank metaphor, but each one having a greater focus on one of those aspects (the students and the educator).

That last stanza is the essence of teaching to me - not knowing what will happen in the lives of your students once they pass beyond your class, even as you do your best to help your students realize their fullest potential during their time with you.

Teaching is an act of faith and hope - kudos to Mary Lee and all the teachers who embody that faith and hope for the river of students that pass their way,

"even as the foaming waves
pummel their centers,
scrub their sides. "

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

Ruth said...

I loved the "river thoughts" of your opening quote, and then your own river thoughts. "This moment's river and this moment's river and this moment's river." So true.

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, this blessing poem is so thought-provoking. Lone the lines:
bless those
who unearth love within
their own most rocky rims.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

You had me with the Edward Abbey quote. Then your poem.... I may not be a teacher, or the one retiring, but I definitely feel blessed for having read this poem, T.

Mary Lee said...

Tabatha, I love this so much! The repetition of "this moment's river" is simply brilliant. That's what the years of a career are like (x37) and that's what LIFE is like. Thank you for this blessing, and for the blessing of YOU.

Jone said...

Oh Tabatha, I am just getting to visiting all the wonderful posts of May and was surprised to see where the blessing sort of came from. Ha! I am working on your swap this weekend.

And this blessing for ML is so perfect. To be are a river as ML loves the outdoors and that she was at a fly-casting retreat last weekend. The moment's river is a beautiful.