keep rolling down river

A hymn to the inspiration and guidance I feel from flowing water. Five-part a cappella harmony.

I wrote this in the fall of 1995, the morning after having seen the movie Beyond Rangoon. The climax of the movie comes as a group of Burmese refugees is trying to cross a river marking the Thai border. At the time, I was spending some time every day watching the creek near my house.


keep rolling down river
wash our souls clean
purify our intention to make ourselves free
wash away all resistance
from your source to the sea
and make the sweet green life grow
for my friends and me

we who wade in your waters were baptized on your banks
were chased over your borders by rockets and tanks
scattered ashes upon you, and wept as they sank
and floated candles for memory, for praise, and for thanks

you trickled in the spring thaw through my parents back yard
you drifted in summer, watching young lovers part
you roared when the rains came, as i sang in the dark
and as long as i live, you will pour through my heart

i’ve been in you for ages; you’re my life’s blood, and yet -
every day when i see you, it’s as though we first met
i stand close to your falling, and your spray makes me wet
and you help me remember what i must not forget.

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