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Poem: The River

Written November 1995 when Jonathan is 16

I submitted this poem as part of a reaction paper for my 10th grade English Lit class, in response to reading Huckleberry Finn. My teacher had me read the following poem to my class. I was a little nervous. Afterward, a kid who I thought was really tough, and was always a little scary to me, came up to me and offered this complement, “That was cool. You’re really genuine.” It was about the nicest thing I could have heard from anyone in that moment.

The River
by Jonathan Kraft

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

By Order of the Author (Mark Twain)
Per G. G., Chief of Ordnance

you are man.
and therefore find
your dwelling place on
So why do you
find your freedom in flying,
or in or upon
a River?

You are,
as you’ve been taught,
a part of the unity of nature
on Land.
So why do you find
your hope in the stars,
or in or upon

You find freedom and hope in places where you are alone and perfect in your
And therefore you are
Perfect, because no one else
is there to provide a
Contradictory Perception.

The River.
The life-blood.
The sustenance for life.
The energy that maintains
even the tallest mountain,
from the lowest plain.

The water.
The peacefulness.
The quiet calm.
Creating for me a place to be alone with my thoughts.

Creating a place
For me to experience
Away from society,
I can regain my
in myself,
and in nature.
Not in society.

For society
doesn’t understand.
it’s too busy with money,
politics, and its own greed,
to be concerned with
Hope, or

The River,
The Water.
By civility.
By humanity.
-or the non-existence of humanity, in people.-
By mines/the sulfur. The rich minerals removed.
Replaced with
tar, oil, waste.
The Quiet.
The Peace.
The Energy.
The Sustenance.
The Life-blood.
The Nature.
The Water.
The River.

Will you let non-humanity
Tragically destroy what
belongs to everyone?
Will you let people, mere people, Destroy
Peace, Hope, Freedom?
I won’t.

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