Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

“River of Sadness,” poem by William T. Dawson (Office of the Poet)

I met William T. Dawson in Mountainair, New Mexico, in August 2007 for the 10th annual Sunflower Festival centered at the historic Shaffer Hotel. First, I'd attended the Sunflower Poetry Writing workshop, then participated as a featured reader in the Mountainair Poetry & Writers Picnic. This spoken word event is sheltered in the tree-shaded garden behind Pop Shaffer’s famous folk art wall.

Dale Harris, organizer of the poetry workshop and Poets and Writers Picnic, met me at the Harwood Art Center in 2006 when I gave my talk "Show Me the Way to Go Home." When she invited me to be a featured reader, I jumped at the chance. I read "Big Butts Are Beautiful" complete with girl chorus and drum accompaniment.

Afterwords I visited William in his home surrounded by the vast panorama that is New Mexico. William styles his role as "Office of the Poet." Here's one poem from his body of work. He thought this poem most fitting for the times, and so dedicated it to America 2010. --JGR
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RIVER OF SADNESS
by William T. Dawson
(Written in 2007. Dedicated to America 2010.)

There’s a river of sadness
that runs through my veins
into a heart steeped with
kindness
frozen in time.
It has been flowing for thirty eight plus years
ever since an economic depression separated
the street from the corporate world
shattering my illusion of joy and brotherhood.
The flow at times is subdued when I am disjoined from group,
otherwise it threatens its banks with fury.
This I attribute to the nature of man
and the nature of his money.

There’s a river of sadness
that runs through my veins
for my soul mate is liken to
an unfinished symphony,
a story held in animated suspension,
another lifetime perhaps the ice cap will melt.

A glass spun world feeds the river of sadness,
for the double edge sword of truth
mirrors the hollowness of a world built
with the straws of illusion,
a material world upside down in structure
created for the lessons of saints.

Tears boil up from the wells
of heart felt emotion of a body frail
distorted
only to wash the pain down stream
to another day
to another picture
that like all the ones before will erode
as a setting sun.

There’s a river of sadness
that runs through my veins
into a heart steeped with
kindness
frozen in time.

The passport that travels with you is not
that bouncing bubbly toddler seeking
to escape the crib of confinement,
it is your soul captured acquired discovered endured
and covered with the moss of wisdom.

How else can one withstand the current of the river…

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3 Responses »

  1. Oh, wow. That poem is really beautiful. I sometimes write poetry but I'm never brave enough to show it to people or publish it online. I'd rather keep telling myself it's good than have a lot of people tell me it's not! Thanks for posting Janet, I'll copy this out and forward it to a friend of mine who I know will appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for this evocative poem. I felt myself caught, waiting to see what would come next. It's so soulful, I imagine it as a song set to music.

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