River’s Bend

Lisa at dVerse Poetics: One True Sentence writes: “Your challenge today, should you choose to accept it, is to pick ONE of Hemingway’s quotes to be inspired by and write a poem. Do NOT use the quote in your poem, but please do include the quote on your post page somewhere, with Hemingway’s name as the source of inspiration. For bonus points, please say a few words about the experience of writing to an idea from the mind of Papa Hemingway.” Channeling Hemingway was a fun challenge for dVerse: his abbreviated diction, especially in dialogue, the unsaid reflected in the landscape as much as in the pools of silence surrounding a character. Click on Mr. Linky and join in!

‘It’s gone the way the mist is burned off the hollows in broken ground when the sun comes out,’ the Colonel said. ‘And you’re the sun.’
– Ernest Hemingway, Across the River and into the Trees (1950)

It’s the old man again.
Apollos bit off the cigar’s end
He comes every night, Juan said.
But Apollos knew only what
the old man kept him from,
where the tree leaned across
the river’s bend like a fishing rod
and a woman like an eel
emerging from the reeds.

He grew old overnight, Apollos said
Do you think he knows about his wife?
He grinned, knew where the woman was
but he could not leave until the old man left
so he could close up the bar.
How could he know? Juan asked
Why should he care? Apollos shrugged.
Beyond them the old man
could neither see nor hear.

He sat in a pool of light as in a world of his own
aware of the tiger eyes regarding him.
He would make them wait.
Youth had come and gone for him,
it would for them as well,
then they too would be like a vapor
in a river’s bend to a woman
waiting under the moon’s light.


Author: Dora

The unearned splendor of being means we can always meet on a common plane of gratitude, aiming in conversation, art, or writing towards “something understood.”

32 thoughts on “River’s Bend”

  1. Dora, I *love* this! You gave us the old man’s thoughts in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” Bravo! I love the “woman like an eel, emerging from the reeds.”

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  2. What a beautiful story. I specially love imagery and metaphor of these lines:

    the river’s bend like a fishing rod
    and a woman like an eel
    emerging from the reeds.

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    1. Lucy,
      Thank you, my sister poetess! I’m always grateful to hear your kind and generous thoughts. Funny, your saying “create through words” as in this case, Hemingway’s diction literally was the gateway for me into this scene.
      pax,
      dora

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With Hemingway there’s always this great unseen fish in the water below tugging at the line with meanings we’ll never quite understand. Nice job here unpacking that in this old man determined to drink to closing time. Nursing all his metaphors like booze.

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    1. Brendan,
      Your comments are poetry in themselves. Little facts about Papa Hemingway that are part of his mythology surfacing (“the great unseen fish” “nursing metaphors like booze”) — uncanny.
      pax,
      dora

      Like

  4. This is expertly wrought! I especially love; “where the tree leaned across the river’s bend like a fishing rod and a woman like an eel emerging from the reeds.”💝💝

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  5. I feel as if I’m watching a scene from a film, Dora! I want to know what happens next 🙂 Gorgeous last stanza, especially:

    “Youth had come and gone for him,
    it would for them as well,
    then they too would be like a vapor
    in a river’s bend to a woman
    waiting under the moon’s light.” ❤

    Like

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