first posted at HASA for the How Do I Love Thee challenge, Spring 2003
So they say that rivers flow, ever roaming to the Sea,
Think you I stayed in my pool until he came to me?
Where the Withywindle flows, through valleys old as Time
I have been, as bubble-float, as ice-floe, to the brine.
Ossė's lost child, by sunlight guiled, the River is my mother,
And I have travelled far enough to know there is no other -
White-water wild, round hard stones piled, my journeys had been long
And back again, to willow-fen, until I heard his song.
Frightened all the fish, he did, out-chattered all the birds;
The wispy bones of reeds all groaned when plucked at by his words,
I went to see what noisy moss this was that trailed into my pool
I seized his beard, then 'twas my wyrd to yank upon the Fool,
Who kicked and thrashed and made a fuss as if he were 'bout to drown,
Sending song in bubbles out, splashing me a muddy brown.
'Oh go to sleep,' he said, and yet angered I was not -
For here was one with eyes so kind, and never had I thought
That beasts of birth who clomp the earth could ever see inside
What lies within the water's heart, and comprehend the tide.
To hear him tell it, he did catch me, like some flashing fish -
But I did abide by Withyside to shush him with a kiss.
I bade him sing to me of soil - of stone and loam and peat -
I learned to hold this shape until the ground no longer hurt my feet,
So strange the air, yet sweet and fair I found his knowing heart,
His yellow boots, his earthen hair, his footsteps and his Art,
I said, "Sweet Iarwain Ben-adar, you know I am but water,"
He said, "I would not have you leave your soul, my love, dear River-daughter."
With lilies now he comes to me in the soft light gloaming,
He knows I always shall return when the current takes me roaming,
We two, we sing the twilight in, when day decides to rest,
We sing the dawn awake, and rain to break upon the garden's breast;
I've shown him jewels in the river, he's shown them in the sky to me,
And as the river slakes the trees, so Tom feeds Goldberry.
So they say that rivers flow, e'er roaming to the sea,
Still free of fear, holding all things dear, I shall abide with thee.