Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rivercreek Mystery

I have inhabited its banks for sixty years.

Photographed its waters while balanced upon its rocks.
Waded through its shallows and swum its deep still pools
Where those same rocks dammed the flow and calmed the rapids.

Seen its torrents in torment from terrible rains, furious at the thunder.
Seen its floods, fat and full, tolerantly awaiting the tempest to be through.
Seen it dried by summer deficiency to a ditch, stripped of its drift and undressed to it sediment.

A furrow burbling throughout my environs,
Who are you?

I have heard its entitlement for sixty years.

Heard its intoxicating reiterations echoed through the Valley,
Memorialized at a Battle, displayed in a riverside art museum,
Flattered by a hundred parks and roads, housing developments
And disparate other places.

An identifying location of my living,
Who are you?

I have spoken the Brandywine for sixty years.

Are you namesake of Andrew Braindwine, settled on your banks before Francis Chadley’s son John famously contravened your width?
Are you the unexplained corruption of Brandwyn, who dwelled alongside your stream?
Are you of Dutch descent, christened by the wreckage of the good ship Brandewijn that dumped its Brandy cargo in your mouth three hundred odd years ago?

A lifeline across the palm of my land,
Who are you?

I’ve crossed your winding path from Modena to Whitford, from Fallowfield to Uwchlan, from Bucktown to Glenlock,
To the stones of a hundred graves bearing names:
The Talbots and the Downings and the Bruners and Townsleys and the Wilsons and Browns.
Families floating like flotsam through my veins.

Sometimes a creek and sometimes a river,
Who are we?

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