This maternal river doesn’t go

her own way now-

she’s come at my door step-

we leave

letting our swaths of dream

spanning generations,

to be lapped up

by her once benign tongue-

I hear her sighs

broken into gloomy words :

I am looking for my way lost eons ago

when your barrage came about-




we both


one another’s kill-


[Malda district in West Bengal has lost huge swathes of land to the fury of the river Ganges, and thousands of families have been deprived of their homes and livelihoods.]


Posted for earthweal open link weekend #2


8 thoughts on “Shift

  1. I think the way you start with the image of something maternal and end with a kill is really powerful. I feel like there’s some myth here that I am only half grasping, as well as something personal. I’ve read this several times, now.

  2. This is precisely the witness I was hoping to see at earthweal! Rivers are such potent sources of civilized livelihood, from agriculture to drinking water to the holiness of grandeur … Those rivers are shifting greatly due to climate change — I think of the glacial melt in Himalayas, the fury of great monsoons, the accumulation of waste and other pollutants in the river water — This is a present and stirring hymn to those changes from local eyes. Thanks so much.

  3. A river changing course can wreak such devastation. A benign tongue can turn deadly in time. And we are all left looking for our way to make truth out of the devastations of our lives…..and to find a way to go on, despite them.

  4. I saw the flooding of Jakarta on the news also – so many disasters everywhere. “To be lapped up by her once benign tongue” is such a perfect image.

  5. It is sad when the river takes a new direction. Flooding is a real issue in many areas. You have expressed her power in your poem. Once living near an ocean or a riverbank was a haven today, you need to worry about disasters.

Thank You :)

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