River Spells: Part Two. {poetry}

A series of short moments of contemplative celebration written while I was camping at the Yuba River over the past three weeks. From nature, I learn to be human. I draw on nature as a resource and mirror through which I see myself and the world. And as the late Joseph Campbell said, Return your nature to Nature.

Chorus of Light

Warmth is life
in the morning
on the river
as soon as you hear
the sun song
see your shadow
in the water
join the chorus
of light


Today you can
simply rest
breath will fill
and empty
your lungs
water will flow downstream
wind will stroke
the water
dragonflies will hunt
sun will paint
the rocks
with hieroglyphs


Hallelujah, it’s morning!
Everyday I grow younger


I met Lotus
floating downstream
She quoted
Joseph Campbell,
“The goal of life
is to make
your heartbeat
match the beat
of the universe,
to match
your nature
with Nature.”


Sing Thank You

Walk past
the white fence
Up the hill around
two ravines
Where the river
changes course
And everything goes fey
Turn left down
the first fork
Through the bridal trees
The forest
of young cedar
To the Emerald Pools
Where I can hear
the river speak
Feast on wild blackberries
Sing Thank You
in a hundred
different melodies

By Order of The Queen

The River Queen commands:
Off With Their Clothes!

Blue Eyes Shining

The holiest
of life’s children
come by here sometimes
Skin and bones
wrapped in rags
Walks into the river
with his boots on
Greets the day
smoking tobacco
through an apple pipe
One crazy arm
dancing to music
only he can hear
Pulls a few words
from a memory
of lost language
I must befriend
even the most
neglected parts of myself
Says goodbye
with a toothless smile
A hand on his heart
Blue eyes shining


Lately I’ve been hearing
people identify
as ‘woke’
In my experience
it’s not something
that happens once
in the past
and you spend
your life riding
on the back
of memory
It’s a thing
we must
wake new to
in each moment


Lie still
in the water
long enough
the fish come
find you
flecks of gold
glinting through
transparent flesh
we become
what we imbibe



Sun Goddess

The Sun Goddess
woke me
this morning
Through closed eyes
tracking dream-creatures
She came
in spiral flowers
Still unconscious
I asked
Can we do this later?
I’m not done sleeping
She exploded
in orange-yellow laughter
Wind licked my cheek


Later you’ll swing
down the trail
where there’s no one
but the river
you’ll make love
with her
in the sunlight
on the rocks
in her body

Teach Me

River, teach me
to keep flowing
no matter what
to seek empty space
rather than cursing obstacles
to keep singing
even when I doubt myself
to welcome everything
as an intrinsic piece
of the living web
to cut through resistance
with patience
to position myself
where the light
can touch me
where my shadows
become beautiful caves
where wild creatures
are birthed

The Bargain

I was lounging
like a mermaid
on the rock
half-submerged, legs dangling
in the water
back melting
into granite
when the water snake
slid over
in her satin one-piece
stopped two inches
from my hip
I yelped.
She held her head high
she said
I remember you
we met right here
last summer
I’ve grown big
and brave
I see that I said
still a little wary
well, she said
I just came to say Hey
she tasted the air
with her tongue
I won’t bite you
if you put me
in one of your poemsss

New Moon

New Moon
paints her face
in the water’s reflection

Jah Love

Roots and the Jester
rocked the river
with song tonight
From his perch
on the rock
the Lion preached
Love, Love, Love
My heart sang too
Marley and Selassi
crowned us
with Jah colors
The Jester blew
Good Evening
on his conch shell
danced up the hill
twirling his parasol
The river and I hummed

Speed of Light

Lying on the big rock
at the river
singing old songs
with an old friend
out of the blue
I say
I miss my dad
right then
the biggest
swiftest, pinkest
shooting star
either of us
have ever seen
whizzes through the sky
like summer fireworks
only thing faster
than the speed of light
is love.
RIP, Dad!

River Dirt

River dirt
Good dirt
The kind that
lays claim
when you play
outside all day
fingernails caked black
hair dreading
skin peeling
dress aloe-crusted
dirt in my smile lines

Read Part One here and Part Three here.


Meredith Heller is a poet, singer/songwriter, and author of the poetry collection SONGLINES. She teaches poetry-writing, leads MoonTribe Write of Passage Nature Program, and hosts Siren Song, a women’s singer/songwriter night. A nature girl who spent 15 summers solo-backpacking, she hikes the trails daily. She is mused by nature, synchronicity, and kindred souls. You could contact Meredith via her blog.


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