Read Poem: Way Down In The River by Niki Bell

October 12, 2018

“Our Father who art in heaven,”
“Hallowed be thy name.”
Way down in the River,
Where the children gather their straws,
“Thy kingdom come.”
“Thy will be done”
Way down in the River,
Where feet soak up the sand,
“On earth as it is in heaven.”
Way down in the River,
“Give us this day our daily bread,”
Heard the crying birds sing their song,
Way down in the River,
“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”
I walked a trail of tears all day long,
Way down in the River,
Centuries past, here again,
I heard the drowning of La Llorona’s latest conquest,
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Way down in the River,
“The Gospel of St. Matthew 6:9-13”
The screams unearthed me,
Someone being beat again,
The screams!
The yelling!
All in my head,
Way down in the River,
“Our Father who art in heaven,”
“Hallowed be thy name.”
No sleep for the drowned dead,
“Thy kingdom come.”
“Thy will be done”
The River,
Its thunderous ways,
Light of day,
Drifting, moving rapidy,
She stepped into the River,
She lost her way.

Way down in the River,
Them old Mississippi banjo tunes gone awry,
‘Til dusk, ‘Til dawn,
Nothing changes.
Soaked in basin oil,
His drunkenness another day made him fall in,
“On earth as it is in heaven.”
Teenagers found that old bridge,
“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,”
Taking turns with their lives,
Hit a rock.
“Give us this day our daily bread,”
The screams, the screams over and over again,
Committing their own suicide
“And lead us not into temptation,”
And that raft got swept away,
With no one in it,
“But deliver us from evil.”
On this scorching day,
A homeless woman carry cried on ’bout her baby,
“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,”
No longer breathing,
“HE will not forgive me,” she says.
As they set a fire next to the River,
Chillin’ them baby bones,
Whispering cold.
“As we forgive those who trespass against us,”

Way down in the River,
I lost my mind,
Sometime…
At sometime,
Way down in the River,
I heard that old gospel song,
“Wade in the water,
Wade in the water,
Children wade, in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water.”
Way down in the River,
That Louisiana heart beat gave me a stir.

Way down in the Jordan River…
Valley, of patches of red,
القرآن‎ (Qur’an) says, Allah says,
Under that branch,
Dripping on and on, just dripping from that branch,
Was her life,
Eyes of the Dead Sea,
She did not do as her husband ask.
القرآن‎ (Qur’an) says, Allah says,
She must comply and she did not.
القرآن‎ (Qur’an 38:44) – “And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with it, and do not break your oath…”
Way down in the Jordan River.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned”,
They reached out,
All the hands,
Raising their arms,
Rising up from the River,
Walking on water,
The Buddha, Messiah, Jesus,
Walking on water,
All day long.
Way down in the River,
They rose and rose,
All day long.

The screams in my head!
Make it stop!
Please no more, please save me!
Way Down in the River,
Silence.
Finally was met,
Solitary…
The worst yet…
To come,
“Wade in the water,
Wade in the water…”
Departing my waves,
Of nothingness,
‘Cause the River,
Could not cry me a different song,
Children wade, in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water”.

I had to go,
I had to escape,
I had to let go,
And drift it in my way.
I broke free!
I just kept walking in the River,
Forgetting all of my pain,
The stabbings over and over again,
Thirty times Fifty,
Beat, Beat, Beaten,
The screaming!
Metal scraping glass walls,
All day long.
Beat, Beaten, Beat,
Stop!
“Papa’s gonna trouble the water”
Until I could not walk anymore,
“Papa’s gonna trouble the water”
And it filled me up,
Each night, every night,
Filled me Up!
Bursting the life out of me,
Oh, my mind…
Gone.
Smells of disgust,
Strangling me,
The water,
Rising Above.
Cleanse me!
“Oh Father, Art Thou In Heaven”
Screaming!
Oh, the screams!
“Forgive me Father,
For I have sinned”
I did not fight,
I finally let go,
There was no redemption for me,
And that ole country song,
Played on the boom box,
In distant sand.

I was called home,
Way down in the River,
Secrets lie…There…
Deep down… in the heart of the River.
“Praise the Lord,” he said.
There is no escape,
Oh, how I love the River.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned”
Let not…
And at mass,
Priest: “You raise the dead to life in the Spirit: Lord, have mercy.”
All: “Lord, have mercy.”

Way down in the River,

I slept.

Priest: “You bring pardon and peace to the sinner: Christ, have mercy.”
All: “Christ, have mercy.”

Way down in the River,

I am at peace.

Priest: ” You bring light to those in darkness: Lord, have mercy.”
All: “Lord, have mercy.”

Way down in the River,

I saved me,

I answered my prayers.

Priest: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”
All: “Amen.”

Way down in the River,

I have always saved me, not HIM.

As my body drifts deeper into the River, down to the ocean floor, I answer my prayers.

Page 226, “There is no ebb or flow of birth and death, and there is no existing in this world and later entering extinction. It is neither substantial nor empty…” (The Lotus Sutra).

Way down in the River,

I am the Buddha,

It is only me.

Way, way down in the River.

“Wade in the water,
Wade in the water…”

Copyright © 2018 Niki Bell

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