Close to the River / River of Doubt
Submitted by Jim Greenwald on February 7, 2012 - 15:31
There is risk in what I do.
Close to the River
There is risk in what I do.
I tell the stories of people who
Made my country what it is today.
The work puts my heart in play.
I listen, I learn, and I connect.
I learn to love while giving respect
To those who made great sacrifice.
Merging of spirits has a very real price.
The people I’ve known, some not so well,
Had lives unspoken, old stories to tell.
Others I met along the trail given to me,
Granted me access to a gift of old memories.
What shaped them, helped them evolve
Sang to me, sank into me, evoking my love.
My emotion, my interest in them, is vested.
They are stars in my sky, more than I expected.
Loss in life is part of life, something I’ve known.
It is not new, that pain is something I’ve borne.
The danger of loving those so close to the river
Is seeing them off when they’re called to cross over.
We live in the moment, sharing and caring together.
Then it is driven home; a moment doesn’t live forever.
I have lost those who became part of my every day
In an endeavor to make them live forever in some way.
Three celebrated when they walked out of the mist
Are gone now; eternity came along and gave them a kiss.
There is no promise of more or less, no knowing the future.
I am thankful that I had the chance to let them be revered.
I pray they are resting in God’s outstretched hand.
I will tell their stories often… for as long as I can.
Old friends, old warriors, walking close to the last river
Will wait on the other side; my toes too, are in the water.
A book holds their stories and my spirit as well.
Bless them for choosing me when the time came to tell.
They left something of them in me, a memory of my own.
They took something of me when they were called home.
Yes, there is a risk in what we do.
We have much to gain and much to lose.
War isn’t the only place that takes life away.
It can happen anytime, anywhere…any day.
Mike Mullins, 2/5/12
River of Doubt
There is a shadow of someone sitting on the bank.
A river of consciousness flows by.
The shadow is a man who fears the stream.
He casts line after line with one hope.
That hope is that he will land the big one…
The one truth that will explain what he means,
What his life means, what will be left of him
At his passing.
He would jump into the stream, grasping
All he could with his bare hands, but
He cannot swim well enough to succeed.
There is the doubt, like a fresh water shark, waiting.
He is ever seeking words in an endless pursuit
Of some elusive truth he cannot grasp or explain.
They are promenading on a perpetual treadmill
Of thought, of ideas, of vague wonderings…
When he writes it often feels the same.
The words run by or splash along in the river.
He nets a few, he outruns others; he enjoys a brief victory.
Then reality crashes down, sends the treadmill spinning,
Spurs a crashing undercurrent in the river,
Stealing the victory away…and he regroups.
There is always a gap through which his truth escapes.
There is the doubt, pushing the treadmill to a steeper angle.
The shadow stirs, the silent voice lifts in question.
Has he done enough? Has he touched someone in his life?
Has he or will he net enough words to leave
Something worthwhile behind… something meaningful?
Is there more to do and can he do it?
Can he catch his second wind and stay on the treadmill?
What is failure? What is success?
What is damned? What is blessed?
The shadow on the bank must not back away.
He must net whatever words come his way.
In his weakness he must find the strength
To not drown in the River of Doubt.
Mike Mullins, 1/12/12
Mullins, Michael "Moon"