The Thirst of Water
In 1999, after an art event at
in Brackenridge Park in San Antonio,
I climbed down to the mouth of a small
well that is one of the two remaining
springs that used to feed the San Antonio
Today the aquifer is full, new
springs bubble up all over Central Texas,
but the spring fed winding river
along which San Antonio was born,
remains an urban carnival of
commerce and concrete.
* Blue Hole Dry
We step quietly thru blue moonlight
down to a spring where
the San Antonio River once pulsed
from hollows that dive
deep into the planet
filtering pure water —
to feed long winding rows
of Texas Pecan trees
whose tap roots drink
In Brackenridge Park,
on the estate of Our Lady
of the Incarnate Word,
the water is gone tonite.
Beneath a full moon in October
in the last year of the millenium
a horned owl calls every 45 seconds.
Moon shadows are long elves—
and ambulances howl.
Traffic sounds pulse, and pulse
and the water is gone,
Every spring has guardians.
Suzanne watches over the Blue Hole—
pours bottled water
into the dark caw of a spring,
that tonight is
mud surrounded by dry leaves.
We listen to a visceral spirit lap
it up, and know water can thirst.
Suzanne tells us
this is one of two remaining
source springs for the San Antonio River.
She says the other mother spring
is in someone’s front yard.
Both are dry.
I have floated with my mother on a
pontoon boat, taking photographs, have
floated past galleries and restaurants,
past the IMAX and it’s giant movies,
past twelve story hotels,
past parking garages
on water that is black at noon —
The River Walk.
I have heard the tour guide
say San Antonio pumps city water
into the old river bed —
recycles it in a closed system
so River Walk businesses
A river in a concrete box winds
alongside the Alamo
through the heart of
the historical district,
old missions, cajunto bands.
I have heard Beverly Sheffield
say dozens of springs
fed the San Antonio River
when he was a boy.
Four women gather at the Blue Hole
under a full moon in October
in the last year of the millenium—
water spirits have
guardians, we wispher
in the moonlight --
wait for rain which will flow
into an urban river in a box.
*Blue Hole when, like today, the aquifer is full.
©Susan Bright, 2007
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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