River Solitude

Even from here, even from this
firmament above the stream,
I feel the wingbeat of closing days.
Here above the waters, I hear
my own heart and the river's heart beating,
rising where the shattered waters
close about the struggling breath
like a sudden word, thought of but unspoken,
caught in this throat of salt.

Even from here, I hear the sadness,
far off, the distant voice
filling the searching heart,
lost between silence and stone, between
echo and answer, without fingers or eyes,
searching among the shadows for my ears.
the water shakes loose from memory
and this solitude, washes into stillness
what voices we had, all our silences,
unanswered prayers, whispered
secrets, loves and debts,
treacheries and destructions,
glances, hands and faces
lingering in our sleep:
each moment unresolved,
each moment changing,
like the river's dream.

The wind blows from somewhere else.
Strident and mournful, the brimmed rising hisses,
bursts and falls like a splintered shore
into the wind's retreating silence.

Where do birds go to die?


  1. Dreams of love lost. Very nice...

  2. Remarks seem superfluous. I just want to breathe deeply, sigh with satisfaction, and then simply give kudos like on MySpace.

  3. This is beautiful.

    My grandma once asked me where the birds go to die. I couldn't answer her. You just have.

  4. This poem is a companion piece a painting by one of my favourite artists, the talented Holly Friesen.

    Click on the miniature of her painting above for her blog entry, which has both the art and poetry together, or navigate to:

  5. The serene sense and the question at the end took me to a different space, a level where acceptance is not a question, it just is. Truly beautiful work.

  6. A truly beautiful piece.

  7. Samuel--I love this. There is beauty and peace here, and such gentle sadness in that last line. Perfection.

  8. Good words well written

  9. Thanks so much for all the kind words.

  10. This is just beautiful, stunningly so!

  11. Anonymous10:12:00 AM

    You have just been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award!
    Check out my post “One Lovely Blog Award” for details on what to do next.

  12. Lovely words responding to Holly's beautiful work. She's a favorite of mine, too.

  13. This poem inspired a reverie. I reread it several times, thank you.

  14. This is wonderful....but sad. "Where do birds go to die" indeed? I'd like to think they just fly off into the sky and become moonbeams.

  15. Sam...the ending just constantly repeats...where do they go...fantastic images, but it's the haunting emotion that lingers. Wonderful!

  16. Anonymous3:59:00 PM

    I found the end especially lovely the wind blowing from somewhere else - perhaps where the birds go - very lovely. k.

  17. There is so much here, I read it twice and still feel I must have missed something. Peace, Linda

  18. Beautiful collaboration
    A sadness enveloped in watery silence

    Hope all is well Sam

  19. Anonymous4:12:00 PM

    this moves me much..beginning with 'the wingbeat of closing days..' so many images unfolded in my imagination..awakening memories of days gone. thank you for this.

  20. You create such mood in this stunning piece--this is a piece to come back to again and again---

  21. i dove deeply into your tapering stanza. this is a truly sensual poem.

  22. dang..that closure..didn't expect this...gives the whole poem a deeper meaning and made me re-read from a different angle...love the heart beat synch with the river..

  23. Reflective words for a a quiet moment.

  24. Anonymous4:46:00 PM

    A truly wonderful - almost magical poem. And one I shall enjoy re-reading several times.

  25. I agree with Jane above, one feels the words more than sees them as they carry their freight of time, change, sadness, and endings through the fluid images of wind and water. The solitude of the heart is laid bare here.

  26. Great closure..sad and beautiful.

  27. really fantastic sam....i like the curve of your words as well....dont know if that is intentional but it added an element for me...you set the tone of the mood and carry it well throughout...and i feel it....

  28. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. well done

  29. loved the life you put into the waters... you've taken us away to another thoughtful place... lines flowing like the rhythm of the waves... liked the last line used as an exclamation point

  30. Anonymous7:52:00 PM

    You ask where do birds go to die...I guess you answered that for us, the rivers dream. Such Beauty!

  31. Anonymous7:54:00 PM

    The winds retreating silence...I love that, I can hear it. This comment goes w/ anonymous above. Gardenlile.com

  32. I love the river heart beating, specially the last stanza ~ Lovely share Sam ~

  33. I did not feel the peace, truly, the dieing here is disturbing, hearts beating and shattering and stuck breath, and I tried to reconcile the drama of death with the serenity of the picture, but could not. The WORDS! closing, beating, shattered, struggling--and then a stanza of relative peace and in-betweens before strident, mournful, hisses, bursts, splintered. Is this it then? Irreconcilable, the throat"of salt" a deep swallow of tears in the ending times? The bird could choose here, it could crash with the waterfall, it could fly up and up into the firmament. I do not want God to feel ho-hum about "the End" I want to "rage against the dieing of the Light." Powerful Piece this, but not because of Peace.

  34. You transported me - I loved the ending - the gentleness and the question... I guess it's all about cycles of creation and destruction - alchemy

  35. This is fantastic. Totally taken by your first stanza:

    "Even from here, even from this
    firmament above the stream,
    I feel the wingbeat of closing days."

    in combination with the final line:
    "Where do birds go to die?"

    Breathtaking! One of those deeper philosophical questions with so much more behind it than just the avian aspect. Lovely, Sam.

  36. A beautiful poem! (I love rivers.)

  37. Sam, you really show off your talent here. This poem is a meditation on life. It is so beautifully phrased. I felt a little melancholia reading it, a kind of yearning. And that's the point, right? To make us feel whatever we need at the moment.

    Wonderful poetry.

  38. Beautiful words Sam.

    Anna :o]

  39. Anonymous12:00:00 PM

    I love what you did with white space in the second stanza. It really grabs my attention without even having read a word.

    This part is so good:
    "lost between silence and stone, between
    echo and answer, without fingers or eyes,
    searching among the shadows for my ears"

    And this:
    "the water shakes loose from memory
    and this solitude, washes into stillness
    what voices we had, all our silences"

    In your poetry, you capture emotion that resonates with all the world.


Thanks so much for visiting my site, I'm grateful you've taken the time to read. If you liked this selection, you can download a sampler of (or buy!) my books at the following links...

- Sonata Vampirica
- Sonnets from the Labrador
- How More Beautiful You Are
- Tango Desolado
- War and Ablution

...And, if you can, please leave a rating at Amazon.com. It's easy, and it does help a lot.

...Thank you!