|Lula swims the French Broad|
Here on the banks of our own river,
here in the divine Blue Ridge, the French Broad,
here where we gathered to worship Her, Oshun,
Mother of the River,
here in our town, and here too
in Nigeria, Osogbo, sacred to Her,
we gathered by the river, to sing, to drum,
to dance our love for Her, for each other,
for the beauty of the day, for the golden honey,
for the rippling waters of our river, and Hers,
we came to be Hers, to live our lives with Her,
at our own river, the French Broad, and for all the rivers,
for the Oshun river, for the Mekong,
for the Mississippi and the Yangtze,
we came to sing, to pray, to call out to Oshun,
and yes! to swim, lover of the river,
immersing in Her, feeling Her currents,
as so many of us watched and swam along,
together as one, one with the swimmer,
and Oshun, Her ripples, Her currents,
Her smooth stones, Her coolness and warmth,
one with the birds and the leaves falling,
the offerings we cast upon the water,
one with she who swam all the way,
all the way and back again,
with us, with all of us, loving Her,
loving our Lady, swimming with Her,
swimming for the love of Her.
Blessings on the River
August 26, 2011
This year, 2020, we will have gathered to honor our rivers for the past 10 years, celebrating "Blessings on the River." Originally inspired by Priestess of Oshun, Yeye Osunyemi, with whom I collaborated to compose songs in honor of the Ifa Orishas, Yemaya, Oshun and Oya, we began by meeting on the French Broad River in Asheville, and for the past few years, on the Swannanoa in Black Mountain.
This poem represents our surprise and delight when one of the participants, Lula Moon, shed her clothes and took a swim across the wide French Broad during our ceremony.
Here is my voice in a reading:
For more information on the Ifa religion, follow this link.
Rainer Doost made 4 wonderful videos combining our 2010 "Blessings on the River" along with footage of the Oshun celebration held in Her city, Osogbo, Nigeria.
|Yeye Osunyemi and others in prayer by the French Broad river|
|Celebrants casting their blessings with popcorn|
By the River
I returned to the riverside park,
the day quiet, a few dry leaves blowing,
the river glassy, more like a lake really.
The lovely park which is all river, all Her,
Her power and majesty manifest,
just some grass and a sidewalk
plus Her, the River, magnificent.
There in the quiet by the tree of seven stems,
not a shred remained, but the memory of all this,
Oshun holding us gladly, still gazing and singing on the shore.
The voices chiming forth Her name,
the drummers and the drums,
the priestess bowing right to the ground,
the dancers, the smiling families,
the babies held high,
the worshippers offering their golden honey
for Her, for Her they moved to the river’s shore,
for Her they poured out their golden love,
their needs, their pain.
For Her someone doffed her clothes
and swam to the other side!
We gathered there by the river,
in the name of love and no more war.
We called out loud to Oshun,
for joy, for water, for our lives,
and She sings there still, calling back to us,
remembering our names.
Blessings on the River, Woodfin Riverside Park
September 15, 2010