I have spent a lot of time overseas and in varied environments but jungle rivers always fascinated me. When I was working in Venezuela, I had to cross an area where vegetation had grown over a slow moving river. I had to walk on roots while getting swarmed by mosquitoes and ants. The trees had long spines so I had to use a machete to catch myself. If you slipped off a root you plunged into the black water. It inspired me to write a short poem that captured my battle with nature:
The confluence of elements made it known,
That this was a world all onto its own.
No man will pass without our scar,
A vision of hatred to be carried far.
Leave us alone for you cannot prosper,
In the overgrown river we will conquer.
In contrast, there was a time during this Malaysian study when my family was swimming in the Lemanak River in Sarawak, Borneo and I appreciated that it was a perfect time. When my kids wanted to be with me and the brown, jungle river flowed with adventure. Poetry is often where I park my most important memories and this experience prompted me to write the following:
Vine wrapped ceiling
Giant timbers reach
Palette of greens
Sticking to the sky
Muddy river droning
Current always on
Licorice magma flow
Far from home bed
Sliver of web’s reach
Swimming with the children
They trust my steady legs
Laughter blends with:
Primordial smells creeping,
Wet air washing,
My arms pull Elayna and steady Eric
And these moments rage
Down the river flowing.
Is this the perfect time?