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jeanne rene watson

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Euphrates' Child
by jeanne rene watson
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Part of the Euphates River that runs through Syria.



Euphrates' Child  (revised 2.07)

Wrapped in the moth-eaten garments of my youth
I slept on the banks of my mother, Euphrates.
Upon her sweet and fruitful bosom I dreamt,
gems of amber grain spilling from out the thresholds
of mud shelters swollen with plenty.
Beneath the sorcery of the heavens
I drifted in my fancy near the savage spit of flame
as it shaped the will of the bronze,
harkening back to hum of the potterís wheel
I had passed in the marketplace.

As my fatherís light opened above the Tigris
unfolding the day between the two shores,
I stirred, as bleat my brothers and sisters,
they whose warm blanket I had pressed in the dark.
From the softness of their pillow,
I rose to tend, with reverence, the flock who clothed me,
provided my sustenance.
Knowing still, it would come to pass . . . as surely as each yearís flood,
that on this day ordained, upon the banks
of Ur to the slaughter, I would walk my sheep,
that mine should eat,
that mine should be cloaked,
and that, for this, I would give thanks
washing my hands in the mouth the rivers.

I thirsted
before I traveled,
and waded into the mother, who offered cool drink;
I threw her water against my cheeks.
Abandoning my flock
I closed my eyes to her sweetness, her caress seducing my meditation.
Her tongue lapped about my ankles,
and I swayed, rippling, her movement intruding upon my senses.

~
I am here, child. Ever here, child,
under your feet. You walk on me with enchanted eyes.
I remain, bottom waters vigilant, muddied with the first and the last.
I spill onto your valley, upon the son, onto the daughter.

The fatherís light is held fast, child. Held steady
above my constant shores. Even diminished,
I remain, my joy, my grief, washing the bitters of your vengeance.
But, I rejoice in the eternal,
binding your feet to rock deep within my waters.
Virtue will not wend, prudence will not pass beyond my shores.~


Opening my eyes, I was blinded by the embrace of the father
shimmering upon the river's surface.
Newly made, an immortal babe, bound by decree,
I stood upon waters made clear,
and saw cradled in her soft bottom,
the stone to which I was joined.

Ever wakeful,
I have stood the centuries, watching
the river carry the sins of Babylon upon her back.
Weary and sick,
I have covered my nose with a ragged sleeve
at the stench of belly-bloated enemies washed ashore,
spewing from my own stomach their intrusive bile.
I have numbered an endless drift of bone . . . and gold,
book and song, geometry and sheep
half buried in the silt . . .

But I remain, absolute,
my ankles shackled to the depths of the Euphrates,
longing for the resurrection of her kiss.
A phantom of the millennia. . . I await my release
.




*****

original

Euphrates' Child

In the moth-eaten garments of my youth
I slept on the banks of my mother Euphrates.
Upon her sweet and fruitful bosom I dreamt,
dreams of amber grain spilling from thresholds
of mud huts swollen with plenty.
Beneath the sorcery of the heavens
I drifted in my night fancy near the angry spit of the flame
as it shaped the will of the bronze,
and heard the same hum of the potterís wheel
I had passed in the marketplace.

As my fatherís light rose above the Tigris
provoking the day between the two shores,
I stirred at the bleating of my brothers and sisters,
whose warm blanket I pressed through the dark...
From the softness of their pillow,
I rose to tend, in reverence, they who clothed me,
provided my sustenance.
And so it would come to pass . . . as surely as the floods,
that on this day of my youth,
to Ur for the slaughter, I would bring sheep,
that we should eat,
that we should be cloaked,
and that, for this, we would give thanks to the river.

I thirsted.
before I traveled,
wading into the mother I took a cool drink,
and threw her water against my cheeks.
Closing my eyes,
I heard her sing to me.

~ I am here, my child. Ever here, my child,
under your feet. You walk on me with enchanted eyes.
I remain,
my bottom waters vigilant, muddied with the first and the last
that I spill onto your valley, my son, my daughter.

The fatherís light is held fast, child. Held fast
above these constant shores, even diminished,
I remain,
my joy, tainted by the salt of your grief. But rejoice,
to a rock deep within my waters, I have bound your feet . ~


I was blinded, as I opened my eyes,
by the embrace of the father
upon the surface of my mother.
Newly made, an immortal babe,
bound by her decree,
I stood upon waters made clear,
and saw cradled in her soft bottom,
the stone to which I was joined.

So, I have stood the centuries, watching
the river carry the sins of Babylon upon her back.
Weary and sick,
I have covered my nose with a ragged sleeve
at the stench of belly-bloated enemies washed ashore,
spewing from my own stomach their intrusive bile.
I have numbered an endless drift of bone . . . and gold,
book and song, geometry and sheep
half buried in the silt . . .

But I remain,
my ankles shackled to the depths of the Euphrates,
awaiting the resurrection of her kiss.
A phantom of the millenniums . . . I await my release.



jeanne renť 12/04


 
    
   

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Reviewed by Charlie
I loved reading and comparing your original to your final draft. I see how you choose your words carefull, extracting all the color and meaning you can from each line. Your final lost nothing, but is fuller and richer, and dripping with colorful, virgin expressions. --Charlie
Reviewed by Axilea MU
Exceptional descriptions that mix with essential emotions.
Something primeval, mythical, deeply rooted stays with the reader...
Great writing.

Axilea
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
Captivating poem of epic depth and meaning. Thank you, Jeanne. Love and peace. Regis
Reviewed by Peter Paton
A melody of biblical proportions....Jeanne
Wonderful and moving composition...
Peter
Ty for the kind review....hope you are well
Reviewed by E T Waldron
An awesome write! Amazing how rivers can be almost sacred to the people like the Nile, this one too has such deep meaning. You convey that beautifully!
Reviewed by Kate Clifford
Exceptional write with great descriptions. I could feel your voice all the way through it.
Reviewed by jude forese
well developed images ...
Reviewed by Phillip William Allen
A splendid pen
Reviewed by Huda Orfali
Wow, wonderful poem.
Prayers that the Euphrates would be in peace
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