Hi I get so bored at night. I'm up, waiting for morning. Some nights, if I'm stressed, I just take naps. Not always, just the way it goes. So might as well get some work done, ha. Just revised this. Kind of a little story within a poem. I think this little legend would make a cool short film. :) C.A.
The Lost River
The Lost River, located at Natural Bridge, Virginia, is so named because its source and destination are unknown, despite desperate attempts by many to locate them.
They could hear the rush of water.
They imagined the stillness of its end,
but the true body, the beginning,
remained unknown. For many years,
set out on reckless rides
with restless horses;
the beasts grew tired
from the miles and the whip
and soon, they loped
with half-open mouths,
lips flapping to the breath game,
long teeth chomping to spit,
white foam lathering bits.
For decades, strange men
drank to exploding rock,
leaping over logs,
splashing through fallen leaves,
coughing up the muck of dreams,
hiking deep into the evergreen,
hunting, killing, searching
for the River’s source.
Later, some bit nails or scratched skin.
Others clawed at cheeks and chins,
and the wicked chase
drove them into mad fits,
a red-faced, grownup colic.
They cut permanent grooves,
carving into anything worth carving.
Names, initials, and the mess
of battle fields
spelled out the truth –
chicken scrawl showed the dates,
the horrible instants
when bone by bone, they suddenly
Dropping the dynamite, struck
into tired, tight-lipped statues,
forced into stone silence,
they checked the sky,
guessing the weather
for the hard ride home.
And they returned to families
with no news, no notes, no souvenirs, no clues,
not even a single penny.
Some made fists, kicking their kid legs.
But in this startling quiet, the brave moment
when the forest settled,
just when all lost men had slipped away,
perhaps then came life.
Right then, the forest Natives, the watchers,
grew restless, finally waking, rising up
from their hiding places,
the glowing, fire-lit caves,
creeping out of thick shadows
like smiling, winking, slender, so-close-blue
flames. So close, so rich, they lived inside
the swallowing art of wet secrecy.
Together, big-eyed, camouflaged
by unknown homes,
they studied the damage,
knowing the truth,
that the River’s source was always present,
resting inside the mystery, the silent time
when the noise of horse men ended,
when the laughing trees whispered,
They are still coming.