The Sunday Poem: Steven Hamp... A Story Without Commentary

Three hundred years from now, scholars will mine internet data trying to figure out how we reacted to the changing climate.  This poem will be part of that research.  Our river, El Rio Grande, is the narrative that flows through it all.

Steven Hamp has resided in New Mexico since 1981 and currently lives in Albuquerque.  His writing has appeared in various local publications. He is presently working on a poetry collection based on New Mexico’s living landscapes and how the natural elements tie into our rich culture.

A Story Without Commentary
Along the Rio Grande in the afternoon
the river has my attention,
I hear the swift movement, a current
that is definitive
and more vigorous
than I might imagine,
its strength shows a purpose
the movement is timeless.
Higher water
comes as summer rainfall upstream
connects with the river,
a welcome sign becomes ominous
dominated by content
unyielding burnt gray ash
remnants of fire
in the Jemez Mountains.
Fast paced and visual, the river
tells a story without commentary,
about a wild fire out of control
ripping apart
a once vibrant watershed,
allowing water’s unruly character
to run with fury, creating its own path,
in its own pattern.
Landscapes merge in an unnatural link
where healing will take time
and the river bringing closure,
live water downstream stays impartial
to the story being told, in motion,
it’s still available to irrigate the fields
and to nourish the Bosque,
it still moves with purpose.
Looking upstream, it’s easy to envision
the river will bring fresh stories next year,
from a host of new and undisclosed sources,
the future is always upstream;
snow melts and water flings itself down
from the mountains, past rocky ledges to reach the many tributaries,
it races along to become the river
the movement is timeless.

--Steven Hamp

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 173

Comment by Margaret Randall on August 26, 2012 at 8:09am

I love poems that come from a perfect meeting of human attention, feeling, science and hope. "Landscapes merge in an unnatural link / where healing will take time": truer words were rarely written. This powerful poem illuminates this Sunday morning! Thank you!

Comment by BARBARA BYERS on August 26, 2012 at 8:26am

Thanks for the poem about what is there and there and there.....

Comment by Izquierdo on August 26, 2012 at 4:36pm
  • Well done poem and much appreciated. Still, I'm wary of the term "unnatural" in discussions of landscapes unless limited to the notion that man is an "unnatural" force. I'm also leery of "healing" to describe one stage of a landscape's cycle, and "ominous" to describe another. This criticism, if it can be called that, is offset to a large extent with the notion that the water itself is "impartial" in its never ending journey


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