OF THE RIVER AND TIME:   So We Come and We Go


The Vezere river / South/West France

The Vezere river / South/West France

OF THE RIVER AND TIME:   So We Come and We Go
And in this each they did know
That within the deeps of winter night
Quiet wisdom comes from sorrow,
Surrender, consolation, then daylight
So far back before growing old
Losing time and losing friends
Almost losing ourselves we are told
We came into this valley, took residence


If others had been in this place
Before us, so green surrounded by forest
So quiet, the trickle of water . . . .
Thereby, knowing them only in the trace
        of their horses drawn
Along the walls of that side canyon
        deeper up the glen, follow
the trickle of the little meander
         and murmur to where the rill and spring
seep out of the mountain
Looking up you’ll see a tide of horses
So graced with nobility and wonder
So drawn from out of the mountain
They run for the sheer joy of running
We are all of us tributaries
          to the river, and this beginning
thing of reverence


We were the People of the Needle & Thread
Rode upon horses so far up ahead
Came to the crossing of the oak and the beech
Sewing together the wildwood turned crowspeech


There were those few who crossed the divide
           in the Before Times
And never came back, the river so wide,
that Time was born in that space
          between then and now, turning
Looked to the mysterious moon wondering


Needle and thread, needle and thread
We sewed and we sewed, stitching
Together hide and bark to make warm
That our skin would not be winter shivering


And here we lived for many years
Caught and struck between sewing the sky
To the cliffs together with the smoke
Of our ever-burning campfires
What you wear is how you move
Splashing shadows of the fire flickering
On the walls taught us how to dance
I’d not take him to be seen
By mortal eyes afraid to gleam
He that absorbs moonlight and reflects
The goodness innate of all who come subject
To our natural ways, so gloaming
Glorious the evening rays, so catching
Does this light twinkle on the wings
Of butterflies and the leaves, we
Lay down upon the grass
And have our night be rested and
Easeful clockwise roundabout
Thus we have the gift of sleep
And here we shall be with you always
Beneath this stone in this grassy vale
Inscribed to the sun, it reads:
     Existing in Time
     Just for a Moment
   I’ll be back with my books
   When the tide is glimmering
Now we can make telephone calls
          from moving cars
Listen to a symphony on ear buds
          while riding a bike
Ride a pogo stick while
          reciting the alphabet
Everything picked up speed
But hasn’t that always been the case?
Things have moved right along
Since our veriest fire
We’ve rode the crest of this
Curtain of clouds like a stampede
Of reindeer up along the tundra
I looked up that river, once,
For my friends
who never came back
—-Mark Weber
April 2o18


  1. Mark Weber

    I was thinking of the Ice Age cultures that lived in the Vezere River Valley 20,000 years ago when I wrote this (they lived there 40,000 – 10,000) ——- also, I was also toying with the idea of writing in octosyllabic alliterative easy-rhyme Anglo Saxon poems (what I call 4+4) but wasn’t exactly successful, but, it’s okay, no? (Klaus picked out this perfect photo)

  2. bayouseco

    A really wonderful piece, no explanation necessary. 4×4 is good for holding your fence up, 4+4 is the fence after the bugs eight it up but it can give you a break you can trade with your friends.

  3. Supriti

    wow, I didn’t want it to end. I kept cycling back, and reading and rereading it. It drew me into that rounder time. I resonate with so many words and phrases and that magical phase of time, seeming without end, that landed us here and now. fires flickering on cave walls teaching us to dance! Yes. My grandmother had the lightest touch on the piano and used to play a song called In the Gloaming – it always fascinated me. What was the gloaming?? I love your ancestral voice, Mark. I half expect you to speak the way you write, and with an incomprehensible accent!

  4. Charley

    Really Beautiful …!!!

  5. joan voss

    beautiful, Mark.. so serene and beautiful to “see”….

  6. Joshua Breakstone

    Yea, man!

  7. Andrea Wolper

    Mark, this poem is stunning, one of your all-time greats. Wow!

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