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Soul Stance River - 6

Back on the river, forward into the howl of the unknown, 
for three days Sergeant Floyd has been crippled by excruciating pain in his abdomen, 
as the only man here trained in internal medical matters it is incumbent on me to treat him,
Doctor Rush's "Thunderbolt" pills are failing to alleviate the malady
and the ground Peruvian bark hardly sedates Flyod, his agony is bleeding into the eyes,
for 48 hours the rains have been rampant making the river sizzle in cool agitation
the mosquitos are swarming like whispers in a brothel
they are the devil's needles, we resort to spreading lard on ourselves as a repellent, 
ironically, despite the downpours the wind is high at our backs
so the sails are up and we are moving swift as a curse off a witch's lips,

Sergeant Pryor woke on the boat this morning with news of death
his voice didn't wait for breath, the steps of his boots broke open my irritation
after informing me that Charles had recently died,
I believe he expired from a ruptured appendix which we had no remedy for,
he had the soul of a lion, Godspeed to him,
while I slept my spittle smeared the ink in my journal
forming a pictorial omen of a tombstone on the page,
the only question is whom be it for,
Clark has identified a suitable burial place for Flyod on a large hill,
no one speaks, its just the slurp of the paddled water
and a handful of gold finch birds that seem determined to skip on the wind
reminding us that there is always a place for a soul to go,
coming up on the riverbend we are accosted by an armada of geese
so plenty that the trees wish they had that number in leaves,
my Lord, the ruckus these creatures are generating in honking indignance
as they lift into flight is nerve pinching,
its like an army of imbecilic people shouting in panic all at once
yet these geese are noble in their beauty and militant natures
and I see this moment as a sign that no Indians will interdict our passage,


Copyright © | Year Posted 2015

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Date: 2/24/2016 12:20:00 AM
My friend hates geese because of the never-ending waves of droppings they seem to lay in the park. But they do seem like popular birds to discuss in poetry (haiku, especially). This is my first time hearing the word "augury", so thanks for that ... perhaps the gold finch metaphor is the polar opposite of the death omen people feel when seeing the crow on the window sill. One speaks of hope, the other of despair.
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Justin Bordner
Date: 2/24/2016 6:44:00 PM
I've seen geese "stand up" to mack trucks with absolutrly no fear, no creature is more graceful wading through water, and the semper fidelis they exhibit for their flocks is highly intelligent and brave. Yes, indeed my interesting friend, and the crow and finch possess remarkable attitude, the finch more swift, hyper and creative, the crow more pensive, observant and deliberate...J.A.B.
Date: 2/22/2016 3:05:00 PM
Geese really are such maddening creatures ... but they do have a tinge of the nobility in them. You challenge the validity of television with the scenes and emotions your words capture. Your strongest bit of this episode is, I believe, what Laura already pointed, but I always like this part ... "the mosquitoes are swarming like whispers in a brothel" ... definitely not a pretty image for oncoming death! Which makes the gold finch image all the more surprising and beautiful by contrast.
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Justin Bordner
Date: 2/22/2016 7:07:00 PM
Continued...As I saw the Gold Finches fly so jubilantly after the intrusion of Death I knew it was the most beautiful metaphor for the immortality of the soul that could possibly be expressed poetically in this moment, and it makes me so happy that Poets like you see their wings my friend. This portion of the epic shows deep contrast with tragedy and hope, anger and humor while it also reveals Lewis' innate belief in augery...J.A.B.
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Justin Bordner
Date: 2/22/2016 6:54:00 PM
Your meticulous examination of my work is a real delight and reward Timothy, I truly appreciate your passion for the story and for the craftsmanship as well. In many respects geese are more noble than humans, in that their instinctive behavior has not been so compromised, and geese reflect many of the more noble attributes of human deportment. Geese are also the only animal that lives in the air, water and land with such power and grace. J.A.B.
Date: 12/16/2015 3:18:00 PM
"no one speaks, its just the slurp of the paddled water, and a handful of gold finch birds that seem determined to skip on the wind , reminding us that there is always a place for a soul to go..." What a beautiful, sacred moment Justin...I love how nature teaches us the truths we couldnt otherwise so easily find .the moment with the geese is intriguing too... youre amazing! Always, Laura
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Justin Bordner
Date: 12/17/2015 2:56:00 AM
It was very important to me to create a metaphor that emphasized the gravity of mortality and the positive impetus that confirmed the immortality of the soul in which the finches represent. There were many times that I nearly wept while exploring my visions and feelings, this is one, others were in moments of conflict, and with Sacagawea Laura. I love your passion! J.A.B.