River Teach Me

Inspired by a sacred Ute prayer

River teach me change
as falling leaves decompose in the formless current

River teach me hope
as the source and end, both come from mountains

River teach me how to get lost
as two young lovers walk along your bank not needing to be found

River teach me how to savor the now
as the sun glistens on the scales of a snake bathing

River teach me how to manifest what I want
as the immortality of your course is guided by creation

River teach me how to accept
as the chaotic swirling foams cover and pull all beings asunder

River teach me how to live without fear
as the salmon do when they breach the surface of a bear’s claw

River teach me how to listen 
as the empty space of the blackest ice is ancient and unborn

River teach me how to close my eyes and see 
a force eternally moving when I am not looking

River teach me how to understand
as the memory of geese returning from their far off flights

River teach me how to believe in myself
as a beaver does when they forgo their fragile homes of sticks and mud

River teach me how to do nothing
as a heron wading, full of hidden knowledge, instantly unleashed

River teach me God
as there is nothing false about the opinion of creatures who need you to survive

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat ReviewMoria Poetry JournalChronogram JournalAmpersand Literary ReviewThe Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in USA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe AtlanticHavana TimesSouth China Morning PostThe Buffalo News, and more. 

See all his poems on Tea House here.

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