The River / The Source

The River / The Source

A collage from words by Rumi, Antonio Machado, Psalms, Denise Levertov, Joni Mitchell, Sappho, a Havasupai medicine song, Kimmer Macarus, Claudia Schmidt
woven by Elliott batTzedek

I dreamt of a fountain flowing deep down in my heart.
I drank water from your spring
and felt the current take me.
By what hidden channels
have you come, tell me, to me,
welling up with new life?

My dreams are once again bound by water—
water from the live
rock of my heart,
all fantasy and wanting and grief.

How can we tell these apart?
From the sound of water, can you tell
if it is water of peak or valley,
garden or grove,
torrent or tumult?

I have been a river of tears.
I have been the pure stream of loving-kindness.
I have tasted my waters grown salty
with tears of the exiled
while I continued flowing indifferently
through Babylon.
I have grown cold, frozen, silent and slick
and watched my lover skate away.
I have been washed with a secret I sometimes know
and then not.
I have been a still pool, watching a woman
impelled by a need she did not understand
to cup her palms, drink of me, and say
Thank you, thank you for this day, a day of my life
even as she knew I could give her no response
but my stillness.

Have you known a life with the rhythm of rivers?
The laughter of waters
that run through green reeds
and through the green rushes?
Have you heard the millstone,
every grinding turn a halleluyah to its belief in the river?
No metaphor will ever be enough
to say what the heart knows when it hears
icy water babbling through apple branches,
so you must never stop pointing
to the beauty of the river
in its many-voiced abundance.

To come to the river,
the brook hurtles
through rainy woods,
laying down silt in ripples.
Under the water, tiny pebbles.
Flowing over them, the water
that gives us life.
The water is gliding toward the sea,
into the distance, beyond our sight.

We can float down the river, together
or in our separate murmuring currents
of doubt and praise.
We can let go of our fear
of being absorbed into the ground
or drawn up into the air;
all water goes back
to the river and the river
goes back to the sea,
and the sea
will never refuse it.

This is what I am thinking—
do not refuse the water of the spring
of the rock of your live heart.
It leads to the source,
it is right here.


The River/The Source Annotated Version


2 thoughts on “The River / The Source

  1. THANK YOU! so much. Wanted to print SOMETHING to take to the river w/me that would make this tashlich something more than an oportunity to feed the ducks and wonder why nothing was stirring or changing in me. I think this is going to help!

  2. Wow, how wonderful! I’m actually skipping tashlich today in favor of writing, which is definitely stirring and changing things in me. How did you find my poem?

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