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Mary Oliver | A River Far Away and Long Ago

Kawasan Falls, Matutinao, Badian, Cebu, Philippines 

It was a sleepless night. I was reading this poem in the wee hours of the morning at McDonald’s Mango while waiting for Mara, the PR consultant of Terra Manna Camping and Resort. I didn’t know that we would visit the river that kept on flowing in my memory. Rivers are ardent travelers and drifters. Rivers are lives not lived. 

The river
Of my childhood,
That tumbled
Down a passage of rocks

And cut-work ferns,
Came here and there
To the swirl
And slowdown

Of a pool
And I say myself-
Oh, clearly-
As I knelt at one-

Then I saw myself
As if carried away,
As the river moved on.
Where have I gone?

Since then
I have looked and looked
For myself,
Not sure

Who I am, or where,
Or, more importantly, why.
It’s okay-
I have had a wonderful life.

Still, I ponder
Where that other is-
Where I landed,
What I thought, what I did,

What small or even maybe meaningful deeds
I might have accomplished
Among strangers,

Coming to them
As only a river can-
Touching every life it meets-
That endlessly kind, that enduring.

Friday Poetry translates a personal experience that reminds me of a line or an entire poem.

Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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  1. magsx2 says:

    Really nice poem, and I love the photos. 🙂

  2. Ellen says:

    very beautiful …

  3. Malou says:

    Wow! I love the wonderfully written poem and the lovely pictures. I hope the river and waterfalls stay pristine for the generations to come. 😉

  4. Nandini says:

    Loved these! 🙂

  5. […] A River Far Away and Long Ago ( […]

  6. Manny Gergo says:

    Speechless as I saw these pictures.:-) Great poem too.

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