Of Prophets and Rivers

I sat with an old man on a weathered bench near the bank of a section of river most don’t come to anymore. He welcomed me without pause and offered an apple from his pocket. I wasn’t hungry but took the apple anyway. It is not often we are offered something of value so I deemed it unwise to turn it down. He said it came from a tree in the backyard of a house he once knew. I questioned how he came about it and he laughed and said some fences will never be high enough, some walls built to crumble.

I liked this man, instantly, his cryptic way of speaking made me smile. In his words, I felt something I had thought a forgotten part of me. We relate in a way not often found, for I once too knew of a house. A house where love blossomed and hope grew like wildfire, spreading from room to room. But then one day I realized it was gone, taken as if by a thief in the night. No, that’s not true, I had given it away, let it go. There is no one to blame, it happens, so often, so easily. The man asked if I was a prophet, if I was here to offer him some words which may lead him to somewhere again. I told him no, I was wondering the same about him. I guess we’re both out of luck. We’re not the first to sit on this bench, he reminded me and more will come. It’s places like these which bring about change. I nod in false understanding, as I really don’t know what he’s talking about, although I wish I did.

He stood to leave, bid me well and reminded me, he’ll see me again. For years converge and pass by, like the confluence before us, but never as indifferent as we think. I thank him again for the apple and he tells me no need because he didn’t give me anything that didn’t already belong to me. I take a bite of the apple, it’s both sour and sweet at the same time.

I think, perhaps, it is possible we are all prophets when someone is willing to listen.

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Originally published at Spillwords

124 comments

  1. You may be a prophet but whose worlds and tales do your words entail?
    Stop, sit still, look around and listen. What do you hear? Align your self with your your own river of diction, and repeat the lessons you have learned from your own mother, of earth or of nation; or birth or of adoration.
    Your apple sounds like a pink lady.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. OMG Sound-Streamy!! That’s the thing! (Nothing matters at all. Except what we choose to make it out to be)
        I just wanted to matter at all. And!!! Before you get all philosophical on me. I wanted to be self representative. My good and bad traits. I didn’t want to be used like a puppet… or remembered as one. I just wanted to make my very distinctive mark upon the annals of time. I refused to be…. I dunno… it doesn’t matter. I tend to let my mouth and or heart or whatever go when ever I just say shit. Especially when it comes to poetry and symbolism. Lol
        Uyuuggghhh. Super sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed. But as with the nature of a river, the flow erodes the land. And I fear looking back to see which people I slaughtered to feed into my river Nile, this time around… there will be casualties. For every verb solicits the link of the causal correlation. Enough links become a chain. And as such, the metal is no longer silent but instead.. caustic.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful! What if we all paused and just listened to one another for a few moments, not interrupting or thinking ahead to what we want to say next? We’d all be prophets and peacemakers. (Perhaps that is too optimistic, but I think it would certainly help…) Anyway, an excellent write; makes you take a deep breath. 🙏

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lovely read!
    If you would like (and this is totally optional) I was going to link to your blog in my next Mystery Blogger Award, as a way of linking new readers together a little easier. There’s no need to do the 5-question personal quiz if you’d prefer not to, but would you like your blog signposted so new readers might check it out?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the wishes. I love the little story! Especially the part of not understanding what others preach. Wow! Specifically, I recall illustrating a few drawings, but haven’t connected well. Thank you for sharing! 🤘

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice scene of an old man and a younger man–the knowledge of the elder being passed down.

    There is such great value in spending time with old people. They possess life wisdom that the younger need to hear.

    Two suggestions for improvement– I would add some paragraph breaks to give the reader a breath.

    I would also stick to one verb tense–either past or present. The opening with past tense implies that the story was already a completed event.

    Hence, the shift here to present tense was jarring:
    “I nod in false understanding,…
    “He stands to leave…

    “Sometimes, a writer will choose to tell an entire story in the present tense for a sense of immediacy. In any case, it’s important to stick to the tense you’ve started with. Any necessary tense changes should have a clear purpose, and should be done smoothly. Otherwise, your reader will be unnecessarily distracted.”
    https://www.dailywritingtips.com/beware-the-shifting-tense/

    btw; I wanted to recommend a poetry book to you, written by a friend of mine:

    She is truly amazing at the literary device of enjambment:
    https://literarydevices.net/enjambment/

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, an apple, always a dangerous gift to receive (right, Eva? Do you have something to add, Snow white?). This one, the apple, was offered with… melancholy, and that for sure leads to “somewhere” and “again” after we look back hard enough.
    Beautiful, thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well presented River. It reminds me that each conversation we have with another can be profound in itself. Our words can never be recalled once delivered so it’s important to make them count. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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