Catholic Distance University

The Creek

R.S. Mitchell

Not rooted, as if cut and put for people,
an old tree stump waits in the creek,
a pedestal
for an office worker’s lunch break.
In miracles you may or not believe
but notice your face hovering over the water
and now perceive
the halo gliding under a strider,
how each foot-well puckers like a liquid lens.
Likewise, crowning shadow in refraction,
belief begins
not in baptism but surface tension
between the light of the world and the face
of the water and the self-image we anoint.
Ripples may trace
a trinity of rings to a single point.
It may surprise you, an empirical observer,
to find yourself thinking such a thought
and even more
to catch yourself wondering at
the way it spills around a bend with a noise
like churchgoers leaving communion,
a single voice
dispersing into dialects of living stone,
burping crannies, chuckling slabs, gossiping gravel,
how it all goes prattling over a precipice
to bedevil
the rapids and pool again in peace.
Rumors of gross gutters, legends of bright lawns
whisper down the watershed, converge
where a spring runs
pure as myth. Let those with ears judge:
Is this a deceitful brook? Do these waters fail?
Come in quiet when the questions start
and listen well
to the ruddy creek that rushes through the heart.

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