Koon Woon: “The River, the Boat”

The River, the Boat

When facing the sun’s progress, my heart is
churned by its rays, as the Yellow River’s waters are
churning ten fathoms deep,
and when I compose my life by music of moonlight,
I cannot help but think of other great rivers of the world,
and their transporting immense mountains to sea.

And when I see my face and yours in the same mirror,
I learn the blend of Arabic and South American coffees that slowly
roast our hearts with the first cup, waking us to a slight
bitterness, but coffee is coffee, black is black, pain is pain, and life is life.
So, I know the gift of your heart is long in the preparing
and my acceptance is quick in the receiving,

And so as you shower me with this great gift of monsoon rain,
my heart softens as the rice paddies are ready for planting, and
though there are leeches in the water that will steal our blood,
our crop will invariably bring us great abundance because of your light
and the power of the sun.

That the moon still can cast a cold glimmer but she alone
shivers naked in the sky and still the oceans will not freeze
and we will be seventy-seven one day, like so many lit candles in the wind,
when morning is no guarantee for the evening,
and we both know that more rains will come,
but we are also certain that as the river rises, so does our boat.


Koon Woon is an internationally-anthologized, award-winning poet of the Pen Oakland Award and The American Book Award. His books THE TRUTH IN RENTED ROOMS and WATER CHASING WATER are from Kaya Press. He edits Five Willows Literary Review online and publishes Goldfish Press in Seattle. He earned a BA in creative writing from Antioch University Seattle and an MLS degree in literary arts from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.

1 thought on “Koon Woon: “The River, the Boat”

  1. Reading your poem again this morning, I see the sun, moon and the river with its boats, perhaps the mirror too, but also the sunshine along the riverbanks, and the way a river might hide its smile of appreciation, and I taste my coffee sharply as I raise the cup and sip.


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