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Grubstake on the River

Don Hynes

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June 12, 2016

I have a small grubstake on the river

where she breaks out of the high mountain

sauntering like an unfettered horse,

wild, unbridled and reckless,

washing over gravel beds and stone outcrops,

telling her own story before she drops

into the cut channels of the towns and cities.

She’s a woman how she flows

falling from ice caves above the tree line,

following her own course.

She doesn’t want the life

of a housebroken servant.

The original people knew her by name,

talking to her, coaxing her

to share her fish and healing water.

The merchants iron bound her

and you can feel the sadness

if you travel without motor

and smell the earth

along her rubble strewn shores.

Up here where she rides free

we don’t see many folks.

By our lonesome we sing twangy duets,

remembering the time of snow

and a dance through cottonwood.

The lyrics are gentle as her soft legs;

they don’t complain.

The fiddle scratches your heart,

the banjo reminding you to laugh.

They are old songs in four-four time.

If you tap your foot and listen close

you’ll hear the stones and something of yourself

rolling beneath her fast flowing water,

tumbling along on the slow slow journey,

river, rock and people

to the near and distant sea.



Grubstake on the River