Helping Her Cross the River

Helping Her Cross the River

Someone let her cross the river for me
when I skipped stones sadly past tadpoles, and
she was glad to speak of leaves and frogs as if
I were a prince in need of a kiss, and she were a princess

But we don’t need to know if the river is wide
or if she is escaping a palace, and if
I am a wandering King because

she laughs with me and the giggling stream
as if we could rule every meandering river
even if she’s come from far banks of sadness, and

for whomsoever helped her cross the river wide
I give you the sky and
a dove for your love

— Douglas Gilbert

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3 thoughts on “Helping Her Cross the River

  1. Another beautiful poem, I love it. I read it first thing this morning and then smiled the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. Those far banks of sadness are easy to forget when you get wrapped up in moments of happiness. The sky and a dove sounds like a wonderful reward…

    1. Thanks very much. It drifted off a comment I made to a Buddhist story about helping someone cross a river and I wandered into a different meaning. Sometimes I worry if it becomes too abstract or too clichéd but I suppose maybe allusions can be shortcuts so it’s more compact than would otherwise be. I don’t know, it might be too common to talk about “The Princess and the Frog”, Kings wandering off and such, and giggling streams are probably too common. I don’t know, maybe this particular combination of words is unique even if common sounding in references and feel. I always wonder if I should add more description… guess I should leave it and “let sleeping dogs lie”, although I think sleeping dogs usually tell the truth. Guess I could come back to it later with a piece of meat.

      1. I think it’s perfect the way it is, i love the fairy tale, magical feeling of it. It’s definitely unique so i wouldn’t worry about it being cliche. I think there’s a lot of excitement in the poem…a princess escaping a palace and being helped to cross a river, a wandering King – i think he needs to be kissed (wink, wink). Pretty exciting to me anyways. The giggling streams stanza might be my favorite one of the whole poem. Not sure why exactly but it makes me feel happy. Last night i woke up at 2:00 feeling sick to my stomach. I always panic when i feel sick and it makes me tense up and then my belly feels even worse, so i try to calm myself by thinking of happy things and taking slow deep breaths…a lot of times that makes me feel better and i don’t end up getting sick. Well anyway, back to what i was saying…i was laying there taking my deep breaths and the giggling streams stanza kept popping into my happy thoughts…then i fell back to sleep. I’m fine this morning…sometimes i think my belly acts up from stress, it’s nothing to worry about.
        I’ve always thought the ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ saying was kind of weird, i guess you don’t want to startle a sleeping dog because they might bite. I think i remember that being my dad’s answer when i asked him about it when i was younger, But i’ve disturbed lots of sleeping dogs in my time and none of them have ever bitten me so i guess if that was the meaning of the saying then whoever came up with it must have had mean, lying, biting dogs. (giggling) Maybe whoever came up with that also had all their eggs in one basket and they must have tripped or something. Speaking of eggs, it is Easter weekend, we’re going to color eggs later today and then tonight a magical bunny is going to leave a basket full of candy. I’m a little confused about where the bunny came from in the first place and what is it doing with all those eggs? Everyone knows that bunnies don’t lay eggs…

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