First Psalm of the Mad Kayaker

Though I walk all day on asphalt,
Concrete, and milled hardwood,
My feet abide and long for flow.

Though the streets span rivers
On bridges, I stop at the crossings
And look downstream with longing.

Though electric companies
Build dams and choke the narrows
With utilities, I dream them free.

Though the valley has deep shadow
Where the river takes a hard bend,
I fear no evil there.

I dwell in the roaring house
Of water and strap my boat to the truck
When the holy water rises.

I walk the scouting rock
And it is that promenade which
Restores my bony dry soul.

On the river I fear no evil-except
The evil of encroaching suburbs,
run-off, parking lots, and oily streets.

For though I go to the river
For strength, there are those
Who see it as a blankness to fill-

Dump seepage, drainage ditch,
Poison sluice, effluent valve, dye vat,
Silt slurry, waste channel, sewage leak.

For these are the voices of doom,
For these are the shrill notes
Of the out-of-touch and wandering

In the desert of commerce.
For these are the product of staring
Too long into human stillness.

Though my days among humans
Are numbered, I will dwell forever
In the country of wild rivers and cut-banks,

Of eddies, and riffle gardens.
I will lie down in the shallows.
They will restore my soul.

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