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Canadian

By John I. Blair

They say this riverís a mile wide and an inch deep.

Riding up on a sunny day in August
You think how simple it will be to ford:
Just splash across, barely wetting your feet.

Then you start to see the brooding pools,
Stagnant, green, opaque, unruffled,
Shadowed by tamarix and willow,
With borders that tremble, quake
When you step near.

Quicksand, waiting for cattle, horses, humans,
Like a sentient beast.

I donít know how far you would sink,
Maybe to your knees, your waist, your neck.

Tales are told of entire trees
Vanishing into this riverbed in flood time
And never seen again.

So ironic, a river that offers life
In a parched land dealing death
To unwary creatures who would cross or drink,
Pellucid illustration of too little knowledge
Being a very dangerous thing.

©2004 John I. Blair  

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