where water comes together with other water

The late Raymond Carver is one of my favorite authors. His short stories aren’t flowery, are concise and tell more by what they DON’T tell.

His stories seem to match the arc of his own life: A struggling writer, with alcohol problems and a less than perfect marriage, sobriety, success and then peace.

He was not an angel. He had faults.  But his short stories are among the classics of American literature.  And that is how I judge his works.

Or to put it more succinctly:  Read the stories! They are great!

I also enjoy his poetry. If his short stories are almost poetry in the sparseness, then his poetry is almost prose like.

When discussing a favorite outdoor poems recently, this one came to mind.

There is something almost magical about the confluence of two rivers. Raymond Carver describes it well.

where water comes together with other water by Raymond Carver

I love creeks and the music they make.
And rills, in glades and meadows, before
they have a chance to become creeks.
I may even love them best of all
for their secrecy. I almost forgot
to say something about the source!
Can anything be more wonderful than a spring?
But the big streams have my heart too.
And the places streams flow into rivers.
The open mouths of rivers where they join the sea.
The places where water comes together
with other water. Those places stand out
in my mind like holy places.
But these coastal rivers!
I love them the way some men love horses
or glamorous women. I have a thing
for this cold swift water.
Just looking at it makes my blood run
and my skin tingle. I could sit
and watch these rivers for hours.
Not one of them like any other.
I’m 45 years old today.
Would anyone believe it if I said
I was once 35?
My heart empty and sere at 35!
Five more years had to pass
before it began to flow again.
I’ll take all the time I please this afternoon
before leaving my place alongside this river.
It pleases me, loving rivers.
Loving them all the way back
to their source.
Loving everything that increases me.

Confluence of the Red River and Rio Grande – Wild Rivers Recreation Area, New Mexico

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The Wondrous Alchemy of William Cordova’s Sculptures – artreflector.com
5 years ago

[…] But that title: “alchemy”, like chemical transformation. Like Raymond Carver’s poem “where water comes together with other water.” Like your lover’s name reified into a wearable nameplate; then, later, melted into gold, when […]

Deb Johnson
4 years ago

Thank you for posting Carver’s poem. I am writing a review of an art exhibit, was Googling the title and found the poem here. Last month I attended the exhibition 15 ͤBiennale de Lyon Art Contemporain Là où les eaux se mêlent. Amazing. Inspiring. Crazy. And, the title of this poem was chosen for this 2019-2020 show. In French it was translated as “Là où les eaux se mêlent.” In Lyon, France the Rhône and Saône rivers merge. The poem’s title fits nicely. Go see it! Quickly as it closes January 5, 2020. Lyon is in the foothills of the… Read more »