Article: 288885 of talk.bizarre
From: (Tony)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: There Is Water Underground
Date: 5 Dec 1996 06:27:50 GMT
Organization: Netcom
Lines: 41
Message-ID: <585q16$>
X-NETCOM-Date: Wed Dec 04 10:27:50 PM PST 1996

                 There Is Water Underground - a poem

In 1755 a tributary ran, a branching rivulet
Of the great Potomac.  Its current described a path
Which was in turn described by natural phenomena:
The Gaussian lines of the Earth's magnetic field;
The Aurorae; sediments deposited over geological epochs;
The salmon spawning, rushing in silver symphony 
Toward the sea.

The white men who settled the area called that stream
The Bladensburg River.  That waterway carried traffic: 
A commercial conduit, it was navigated by hereditary pilots
using wooden compasses and maps made for them by wise Indians.   
Their boats full of busy Colonists, their barges laden with cargo:
Pigs; sacks of flour; timber for houses and barns; porcelain
>From New England.

Over the years the import of this waterway slowly dwindled.  
Roadways were built overland to transport people, animals, and
The goods of commerce.   As the land was further settled, as
L'Enfant directed the building of the streets and monuments of 
The Capital of a great new nation, the river was forgotten.
Around the new city, clusters of houses, shops, churches were
erected, but the land was drier than before.  Soon, the old river
was forced underground.

Now, the Bladensburg River flows in noble futility, a shadow
Of its former self.   Cars speed overhead on the Beltway and
Scratch the concrete hill outside the Dunkin' Donuts.   Across
Georgia Avenue, the Wheaton Plaza Mall sits like a great gray
And red behemoth under the pallid December sky.   Inside the mall's
Parking garage, on a floor stained with gasoline and painted with
yellow lines, there are steel grates.   It is far beneath them 
that the Bladensburg can be seen, trickling, dark, and dead.