Glad to share from a recent collection of ecopoetry from David Russell, An Ever River, published by Palegrave Press.
An Ever River
Prime time, swallowed whole.
Could the universe, just once,
have poured itself into a molecule
so that, thereafter,
nothing could flow?
Never to suckle a broken circuit
for sparking life;
never split by caesarean pangs
of primal punctures.
Black hole never thinned to liquid,
boiling mud, foundation pustules,
turning all to gas.
All words are now compelled to use
the speech synthesizer of the global dish.
So whence the river,
its source in rejection
generating dragging threads –
bubbling, puddling, squelching,
steaming, clouding, drizzling,
Where would we be if nothing flowed?
or would the truth be bared
if water found its ends
without the flowing means
* * *
Round every dam,
above all inundations, beyond all droughts
the river bubbles
blobs it ever on
bleeding out the parched bed’s cracks.
One river is in every river.
every river recycles to one river.
Let all be laminated, superimposed
rising through fired mud beds,
their crystal sheen, chemical, pure
tippling underground,mountain rill;
forked, widened through basin faults,
embracing every swelling,
feeding the clouds to give all back,
siphoned off to feed past plains,
for grains and pulses
stock, rodent, and their plague-guests;
so that the sea, long past greedy
would not devour it all,
sucked off for dams and factories,
vast barriers, shields
for ravaging and wars,
pockets through the centuries
to save and drown –
only at rare junctures diverted.
Once laden, this river dragged its sludge
throttled by pustule settlements,
banked by insect-egg bin-liners,
scummed, frothed and sediment-clouded:
The acrid stout of a fumbling home-brewer
now cleansed, through dereliction,
a happy adjunct to proclaim
the true mess swept from sight.
Once, far beyond erectus, sapiens, Neanderthal,
it fed, embraced stampedes,
massed reptilian, bird and mammal flesh
in swallowing, fossil-printing beds
suffused meanwhile with blood and effluent.
Then, in our species time,
it flanked massacres,
punctuation marks for ruthless millennia
straddled by canoes, submersibles.
Some bodies floated, bloated to clog downstream,
some helmets loosened,
inverted to build meaningless boats.
Sometimes it flanked great ceremonies, phased into festivals,
got scummed with battered lager cans and sodden wrappers,
mulch-brown and creamed with tack, peppered from abandoned ashtrays.
The dredgers came and went and, present-focused,
the contorted loop
full circle of prehistory from monocellular poison
to strained reaches of torture growth, perverted contents, twisted molecules.
* * *
with masses under the bridge,
generic memories shrunk and muted, I stand in a clear stretch
where there is no bridge in sight.
Such myriads transitory, one-directional;
some can reverse into the human memory.
Old palaces, monuments crumble into their own façades, mirrored by brash renovation.
The cycles emulate and modulate the tides.
Clean, dirty, overpopulated, vacant squeaky splendor, son et lumière,
beams us back to what we thought things were before the truth unbunged the drain,
emitting odour of perspective,
its trickling blended with the general stream.