A river flowing, rushing by,
As I stood on its bank and watched,
The waters rage while in my mind,
One daring hope fought fears of loss.
And there around me riverside,
A crowd of faces just like mine,
Too jealous to enjoy our sleep,
Too safe to spend our borrowed time.
But then a man of restless heart,
Whom wonder had at last made wild,
Pushed through the crowd to water’s edge,
He looked, I glimpsed him, like a child,
And set his feet in sweeping shallows,
Took a trepidatious breath,
Then raised his head and steeled himself,
And plunged straight out into the depth.
We all looked on and gasped in fear,
And shook our heads in wisdom’s name,
“He’ll never make it out alive,”
So cursed we cowards in our shame.
But then a cry, one said, “look there!”
And so we did, in disbelief,
The one who’d launched out like a fool,
Had risen from the swirling deep.
His head bobbed up, we watched him swim—
Or rather, as it seemed—him glide,
Downstream at a rapid pace,
Borne upon a friendly tide,
Soon enough, right out of sight,
And all we guessed as to his end,
The river rushed as ever so,
And all was as before again,
Except that now the older faces,
In the crowd looked weak and pale,
Plagued by chances long foregone,
A tragic boast—to never have failed.
I watched again the river run,
But somehow it was not the same,
It’s hard to stand upon the shore,
After seeing someone swim away.
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