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Morning sun through mist at South Falls

Recently, I have been trying to decide whether poets who write of waterfalls rely on common (or shared) themes. I have a personal interest in this question because I have “waterfall” poems that remain unfinished—and my question is why?

This morning a friend and I visited South Falls in Silver Falls State Park (Oregon). We didn’t stay long but our timing was perfect. We stood at the edge of a 177 foot high column of water with sun streaming through mist; listened to the booming voice of the cascading torrent; and breathed aromas of autumn—leaves and moss.

Consider William Wordsworth’s poem “The Simplon Pass” — a serious journey through a rugged landscape and a place of puzzles and paradoxes: “Of woods decaying, never to be decayed” and “The stationary blasts of waterfalls.” In “The Simplon Pass,” Wordsworth intertwines ideas and landscape until he lands at the enduring and perplexing question of eternity, and you see the waterfall (or river) in the last line (“Of first and last, and midst, and without end.”)

Cheers all, more later,
Katie E.

The Simplon Pass
by William Wordsworth
—Brook and road
Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass,
And with them did we journey several hours
At a slow step. The immeasurable height
Of woods decaying, never to be decayed,
The stationary blasts of waterfalls,
And in the narrow rent, at every turn,
Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn,
The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,
The rocks that muttered close upon our ears,
Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside
As if a voice were in them, the sick sight
And giddy prospect of the raving stream,
The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens,
Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light—
Were all like workings of one mind, the features
Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree,
Characters of the great Apocalypse,
The types and symbols of Eternity,
Of first and last, and midst, and without end.