Winnipeg Arts Council


The river took its journey from the streams.
Each steam, in turn, was groundwater, once

or snowmelt, rain. Distal tributaries meandered
from elsewhere: flowerbeds, and barrels

and mouths, made up from what was left
after thirst, and heat, all velocity hard-earned.

Gravity pulled, constant. The wind blew
when it could. Tree roots lined banks

held true, made a gift of good and humble work.
History shaped the pathway, earth moving with the days.

The marshes, too, lent their time, gave the wisdom
of bulrush and cattail and pickerel weed

slowed moving water like a mind
considering heritage to better legacy.

The soil gave what it could: its salt, and heat, and colour.
The now-brown river roiled, having learned its name.

Stories rode the river’s back, kept it safe, the tellers
passing names and past from mouth to mouth to mouth.

That is how the river grew, and how it kept going.
That is how it was built, and rebuilt, and stayed.

Our momentum multiplied in combination,
made a body from the water:

once together, surer destined for the sea

Presented to the Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts
June 1, 2023