“The Third Bank of the River”–Joao Guimaraes Rosa

Says Joao Guimaraes Rosa in “The Third Bank of the River”:
“I remained behind, a leftover…I just stayed there with the impedimenta of my life…absence always with me. And the river, always the river, perpetually renewing itself. The river, always…I was…robbed of my peace. I am guilty of I know not what, and my pain is an open wound inside me. Perhaps I would know–if things were different.
Am I a man, after such a failure? I am what never should have been. I am what must be silent. I know it is too late. I must stay in the deserts and unmarked plains of my life, and I fear I shall shorten it. But when death comes I want them to take me and put me in a little boat in this perpetual water between the long shores; and I, down the river, lost in the river, inside the river…and the river…”
I respond:

When I returned to the shore I found the river had moved away and so had the marketplaces of the world.

I swam and found that I had left my loved ones on the other side. We were two banks of the river and our choices flowed between.
I am torn, torn.
Contain this wide wound-river if you can.
Only words bind it now,
sublimation of the silt and sandbars.
The dark river,
dark river of my darkened soul;
I am as endless as this river, this lament.

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