Thoughts on nature while viewing an urban river

Prometheus Bound

I am ageless yet with great antiquity
I have been the canvas of great nations and humble wanderers
My soul is there for those who watch at quiet times and while the furies clash
I was once pristine and glorious but few beheld my glory
I was bountiful but few beheld my bounty
I was raging but few beheld my rage
Harnessed now I am Prometheus chained
My bounty stolen my glory a lost memory my rage heartlessly controlled
I have been poisoned in the mindless pursuit of greed
To the point of near death but for my quiet painful healing power
And now at death's gate I am slowly being left to heal myself by my tormentors
Who have of late felt a trace of guilt
At their wonton disregard for the wholeness of the cosmos
and the impact of a butterfly's wings

Poetry by josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2011-11-05 at 15:29

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Prometheus speaks with sad resignation, I sense there is no fight left in him.

On the brighter side, the mention of "wonton" sent me looking for a Chinese restaurant. Just kidding, but sometimes a typo can be a fortunate thing. (I read that in a fortune cookie.)

Fourteen lines, coincidence? I don't think so.

Like Emeralde and Fog I will take this poem personally, back to the Chicago River around Wacker Drive and the Wrigley building, Marina Towers, and the Tribune Building, the way the river cuts the city with certainty and some kind of brute force. The City of Big Shoulders, and though the river isn't Big, it is strong. The river flowed past an industrial area where I worked one summer, long ago, gathering the pollutants you mention, and the river became very begrudging I think, very reluctant and turning a sickly green. Finally the river left the city and entered Lake Michigan, at peace I think, and probably joining the large body of water was a sort of coming home. I like to think so.

I don't think my river was ever the majestic river you describe, the result of a wrinkle on the plains of what came to be called Illinois. I am sad for your river.

I think of the grand rivers I've seen out west. I am imagining that is what you had in mind. And I think of Peter Paul Reubens' Prometheus Bound, and I appreciate your poem. You've found an apt symbol in Prometheus.

I could go on for some time, but I won't. I will keep thinking about this poem for a long time. But first, pass the soy sauce.

Language: 5 2011-11-10

As someone who lives a handful of miles from the Mississippi River, I have similar thoughts each time I cross it. Dams, locks, industrial and community waste, erosion from clear-cutting even the river bluffs . . . I doubt there is any river that we haven't polluted. There is hope though, not in our lifetimes but eventually . . . when we are either gone or have grown intelligent enough to leave the rivers to their "quiet painful healing power."

This speaks to me, josephus.
I note you composed this while viewing an urban river; to me, it is life experience also with its themes of suffering in careless hands and enduring mindless attacks (in my case, the creation of false impressions). The 'quiet painful healing power' resonates particularly in its dignified resignation.
I like the structure too, which flows as fluently as the river.
And I love the imagery in the last two lines; while I doubt my tormentors feel a shred of guilt, it is encouraging to feel that not everyone lacks conscience.

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