Lost, Found

He went to ride the river in a wild place
Where the waters coursed fast inside jungle walls

He followed the flow over rocks strewn at random
Through rapids that spun his boat round and round

Led by a hawk that flew like an arrow before him
He could see a source of light that was not the sun

He flipped over once and popped back up, a cork,
Having learned how to right himself when down

But down he went again, down, down, down
And slid out of his shell like an ousted clam

At the mercy of the rushing waters he was
A soft pebble bouncing, bouncing along the bottom

Still fighting like a warrior on a flooded field
Heart bursting, he struggled strongly against his fate

But the river was winning, holding him down
Until released, his soul unleashed, he rose

That night his spirit came to me over the waters
I could still smell the river fresh on his God-sent breath

As he told me of the brightest wonders he had beheld
When the river embraced him hard in its darkest depths

Carol Flake Chapman

This is the only poem I've written inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins' sprung rhythm. It seemed the only way to write about my husband's death on a wild river in Guatemala.