Will the river remember
the land we lost?
A fragment of research prepared for Before I Knew You for Haus der Kulturen der Welt's Mississippi: An Anthropocene River.
I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god - sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognized as a frontier,
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce,
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers of cities - ever, however, implacable,
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget.
– T.S. Eliot, “Dry Salvages,” Four Quartets, 1941.