'Rapides' by Gina Mercer | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two

La rivière Bow, Banff, Spring 2016

The light gets tired, he writes, and I wonder if water, too, can get weary with all that
flowing & sliding & washing away. In the hotel swimming pool the water looks
weary, constantly banging its soft body against concrete, making the effort to dimple
upwards when disturbed, entered, by our alien soft bodies. Unable to affect any kind
of escape, all means of subversive seeping or flowing being thwarted by hard-faced
concrete & engineers.

But here, this rivière, this water, is energy is wild filling air & eyes, slooshing the
rocky channel … no river bed this, no slouching, idling or sleeping for this river, it’s a
race, a race way, this river is spray & slalom & burble & sing … singing clear, green,
clarity, glacier, white, clarity … rushing through & over & free, so busy & big the
tourists can’t talk on their mobiles. It’s all river & strong & river & loud & over the
waterfall, this miracle of light & sound & water & sound & gravity & light & air &
water & water … they might label it, confine it inside the word {waterfall} – but this
river is not falling – nothing as passive as a fall … not for this dynamo …

it is charging & zinging over the rocks, rapide rapide indeed – it sings as it burns
along, flows over, smoothing edges from the stubborn ancient rocks, singing &
zinging air & skin, all energy & chi & off to the waiting valleys & seas & eager, eager
for its next transformation, incarnation… no, this water body cannot countenance
tired or weary, it is rapide rapide along its race way… this water, the very definition
of                                       irrepressible

Quote from Bruce Beasley’s ‘The Discredited Hypothesis of Tired Light’, Lord Brain: Poems, University of Georgia Press, 2005, page 23.