The River Knows – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
– John Muir

In slowing my pace to lightly step
I saw the power of the hummingbird
defeating the odds again
to fly, even though science says it shouldn’t be able.

I leaned on the elder tree that stood through hurricanes.
Touched sprouts forcing through cracked concrete.
Studied a cactus with magenta bloom
in the desperate dry landscape.

Outside I found my mentors.

Along singing creek waters, trails of bright birdsong
and pausing in cliffside meadows where the ocean roars.

I heard the strength of the outside.

The river knows where it is going
and I will follow it.

© Alicia Grimshaw 2020

photo by antilandscpaper 2-26-20

Hummingbirds have been baffling scientists for years. Matt Ransford commented, “The hummingbird is an animal that by all rights shouldn’t be able to fly” (Popular Science). But not only can this bird fly, it is the only bird able to fly forwards, backward, up, down, sideways, upside down, and even hover. – Mar 23, 2012

dVerse Open Link Night


71 thoughts on “The River Knows – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

  1. Not only me Alicia, so many readers before me felt the love rivers can press them to emote, and we as messengers who are/were blessed to carry on their love and message for the world. For each one who read and loved may once and thereafter go become or try to, rivers themselves. Beautiful. Rivers are and can be the best teachers.

    My wishes dear Ali
    Nara x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nara,
      My spirit is so touched my your response. Yes. Rivers are the best teachers. Thank you for these words, “For each one who read and loved may once and thereafter go become or try to be, rivers themselves.”
      Keep shining your light.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t had breakfast yet, Ali, but I’m getting my spiritual sustenance from your poem this morning. I’ve been up for a while and watched the sun fill the garden, and now I’m imagining a hummingbird ‘defeating the odds again’. Nature tends to achieve the (almost) impossible and amazes me every day! The image of the cactus with magenta bloom is especially stunning. The strength of the outside is constantly calling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I so appreciate this stunning photo by antilandscaper and that is why I wanted to share it. Long live the hummingbirds. May they continue to inspire us to beat the odds. Have a beautiful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your poem, is uplifting. When I read it I thought of the tiny home movement, where the home travels with the person and it is meant to be a place to bop in from time to time and most of the living takes place outside. I very much enjoyed the reading and the perspective shift of it ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not as much as I should, Ali. I don’t know if you’re on Facebook, but I share a hummingbird photo along with a quote each evening on my author page. I can’t get enough of those sweet fellas! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Loved the true power of such a simple line; “the strength of the outside’ Ali I found there is much here you’ve captured that I very naturally resonate with… I find your writing really makes me smile because it is both brave and bold… Thank you…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott, what a great message. I am so happy to hear that this resonated with you. My goal is to create connection between the reader and my words in a way that inspires. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your feedback.


    1. Thanks for sharing Ivor. I hope this poem inspires others to seek out nature to sooth and guide us. It is so wonderful how people, like John Muir, can continue to inspire us long after they have left the planet. Let’s keep our passion for nature alive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always wonder when people say they can’t think of anything to write about…. wow … we’ve a world of nature….. maybe ‘Robert Okaji’ is a great example with his wondrous perspectives on nature….

        Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s 8.00am here in Geelong Ali…. and your poem is my first read for the day…..and what an awe-inspiring read….. my lazy bones are rattling ,and you’ve awaken my sleepy senses….. the finale lines have my toes twitching in my walkers….. and I’m about to follow….
    “I heard the strength of the outside.
    The river knows where it is going
    and I will follow it.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for having breakfast with my poem. Nature can teach us so much. It offers me peace and examples of resilient hope. I am glad my words brought this message to you. Follow the river of words, my poet friend, and have a marvelous day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I sat down and wrote this out this morning.
      John Muir’ love for nature is such an inspiration to me. Every school year I used to read a short biography about him.
      Enjoy your trails and trip planning. Ali

      Liked by 2 people

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