Old Man River

This is for BeKindRewrite’s Voice Week.

Voice 1: Old Man River

Oh the river is low. So low. But so is my blood, and my heart beats slow. Slow to the beat of the dying river. My river. I sit and think of the days of my youth. Days when the river was younger. We ran together, strong and hard. But I am old now. Old and frail.

It was here I was delivered to the world. And it was its hands that carried me ever so gently. Caressing me. Lapping me clean, hungrily, holding me as my mother bled on its dark soft banks.

Have I never left, you ask? I left once. For a girl. It is always a girl. But a girl I left torn, because her love was not enough for me. My river kept calling, calling to me, with each call a part of heart flew to its side. A hollow man I was without my river. And she called me heartless. I will always be alone, she told me, for the love of a river.

It was only because she did not love the river as I,

It was the river that gave me life, I believe, and so it is here by the river I shall die,

Alone here she left me to die.


The Original: The River

The old man, frail, balding, his hair thin and white.
He is as old as the river he now sits beside.
He stares at his reflection in the thin low river.

The river sits low, for it had been a long time since it rained,
and so it sits still.
Afraid that any movement would perish all in its belly,
and life would flow out, onto the parched dry banks.

Its banks wait, patiently for rain knowing that if the skies do not open,
the roots that crawl beneath will reach out further, potruding through,
plunging its thirsty arms,
claiming all life within the river.

The bird gets stuck on the leafless tree.

And then a flash of lightning cracked,
a whip through the sky,
the thunder rolled.

The old man on the bank waits beside his river for the rain,
that will now come a-pouring.

Bird unstuck,
Life began again.

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