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Other Lands, Forests, and Rivers

Gentle breezes stir the treetops in this Rhine Valley.
Wooded hills become the realm of shadows
that engulf greening spruce trees.
Sitting on deck of our river cruise boat, I imagine
forest creatures preparing their beddings
for the nearing night, soon to be lulled to sleep
by a softly splashing stream fed by yonder minor
waterfall that’s only one of several tributaries
to the mighty Rhine on which I travel.

Primeval events awaken in my mind as a group
of young German travelers vocalizes, “Ich weiss nicht
was soll es bedeuten . . . .” I imagine to behold
the fabled but—deadly beauty of the Lorelei
as she sings her siren song that lures enraptured
mariners to their death. At this sunset she is
merely a dangerous rock at the river’s bend,

As I consider the Rhine’s history and legends, I imagine
to witness the hero Siegfried’s Rhine journey after he
had learned to understand the forest birds’ voices.
I seem to hear the call of a hunting horn announcing
his arrival at King Gunter’s castle, and then I see,
before my mind’s eye, the bridge at Remagen
that had opened a path to Allied forces at the end of WW II.

Downstream, the river touches on the Black Forest
that nearly succumbed to industrial pollution. I hear
children singing, challenging the cuckoo bird’s
repetitive call, “Cuckoo of Thebes, how long shall I live?”
I, for one, believe that each answering call signifies one year
of life, and--now I wonder, “Cuckoo, how long shall I live?”
Meantime, soon, I’ll board my flight back home to the US,
and then settle into my favorite chair to re-live my visits
to those lovely forests in other countries.

Style / type: 
Free verse
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enjoyed the trip, and the history lessons as well.


The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

It's been a few years since that trip down the castle studded banks of that beautiful river. Lovely recollections of lasting friendships with wonderful people and places. Thank you very much for your comment, Tyro.

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