Go as a River ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Nearly forever this rushing river
has carved its winding route
from California mountains to the sea.
Freely offering her playfully fresh, life-sustaining water
to all living beings; animal, plant and human
who presented themselves before her current.
Up until these modern times
wild salmon swam upstream to spawn,
sustaining many beings which flourished in this ecosystem.
Over-fishing, dams & destruction of habitat
has rubbed out the once vast salmon population.
So-called Aggregate (mining) companies have claimed river rocks,
taking them for free, dredging & altering river’s course.
Even during drought, dam’s releases
are demanded by the vineyards, orchards & others
prospering along the river,
who pay nothing for this water.
Walking through my town or on
San Francisco bay area streets, sidewalks or bridges
I feel the rushing river below my feet
which was crushed into concrete.
In traffic’s roar I hear a drum beat
faintly expressing salmon’s vow
to again return when conditions allow
many, many years from now.