This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, June 23, 2006


River Orb, France © 2006 Nina Camic By gracious permission; all rights reserved.

The river is not mad at me
   I reassure myself,
As I am slammed hydraulically
   Against a rocky shelf;

Then bobbing up I wave my hand
   To reassure the crew
Before the safeties on the land
   Can toss a rope or two.

Though I pretend to be unfazed,
   My soggy mind is blank;
I splash about like someone crazed,
   And wash up on the bank.

I clamber back into the raft
   To analyse my swim,
Reflecting that I must be daft
   To paddle on again,

But rivers flow so well downstream
   And it's too far to walk;
A river man must more than seem–
   Not simply talk the talk.

The day will come when bones stay home
   And let the rivers run–
Instead of rocks and rolling foam,
   A hammock in the sun;

But I won't think of that gray day–
   I'm hardly sore at all–
The sky, the trees, the frigid spray:
   The raft and rapids call.

© 2006 Jeffrey Hull


I've gone rafting every summer for the past 27 years, most of it on the same river. Always familiar, always different. Faces of the guides and guests change, but not the eternal river or the sky between the low mountains on either side. Helps to keep perspective. And right in the middle of deep philosophical reveries about man and the universe, another rapid appears and I have to paddle like crazy to get through it - with a big splash of icy water in the face to remind me: live in the moment, because that's all there is for us on this temporal earth, and above all, keep paddling!

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