Once I hurtled ever on

Twisting here and thither

Once I rumbled and I rolled

Once I was the river


Now I gurgle and I gasp

Where once I rushed and roared

As cattle steal a thirsty gulp

Which I can ill afford


Once great men observed and wrote

Each one doubting never

That while man stumbles and he fails

I’d go on forever


They dreamed of all I’d oversee

With nature’s right divine

To watch unmoved and unperturbed

The unfurling grand design


They thought of soldiers, writers, kings

Who’d, come their hour, be gone

While beyond love and loss and life

I’d journey ever on


And so I’d flow forevermore

Thunderous and vast

My watch I’d keep and keep long after

Man had breathed his last


But I have seen the will of man 

That blinds his doubts to whether

That right divine might not be his

To journey on forever


For great men made me promise that

Which I cannot deliver

Man has come and man goes on

Where once I was the river

Written by ICS Alumni John Payne (January - March 2016 cycle, El Bramadero, Nicaragua)