I felt both pleasure and a shiver
as we undressed on the slippery bank
and then plunged into the wild river.
I waded in; she entered as a diver.
Watching her pale flanks slice the dark
I felt both pleasure and a shiver.
Was this a source of the lake we sought, giver
of itself to that vast, blue expanse?
We’d learn by plunging into the wild river
and letting the current take us wherever
it willed. I had that yielding to thank
for how I felt both pleasure and a shiver.
But what she felt and saw I’ll never
know: separate bodies taking the same risk
by plunging together into the wild river.
Later, past the rapids, we paused to consider
if chance or destiny had brought us here;
whether it was more than pleasure and a shiver
we’d found by plunging into the wild river.
Gregory Orr, “The River” from The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (2002: Copper Canyon Press, 2002). www.coppercanyonpress.org
Source: The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems
(Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.
Seas, Rivers, & Streams,
Heartache & Loss