Ode: On the Schuylkill

On the river's bank, boat-legions rolled
    in search of commerce, bridges to build;
souls, cargo (heavy, light), bought & sold,
    coffers waiting in Philly to be filled.
Ladies stepped gingerly onto green banks,
   white satin, black lace, versed in politesse or no-
      patterns walked, insignias inscribed into air-
young ones, underlings already in their ranks,
   sought to make the landing show-offy, slow,
     down a hundred yards from a drunken fair.

Add a century, an Expressway looms over
    the murk- wave-sounds, squeals, & metal-
which the Schuylkill cannot answer, hovering
    under- slow-moving, patient, & settled.
The river's mind is settled- the human race
   churns around it restlessly, adding bodies
      shorn of dignity, bloated, pulp-bloody, blue,
having carried burdens the river never dreams
   of, emptiness so incorrigible the Schuylkill's face
      registers nothing but limp waves- tender, true.

The Keats-brain, peering in, questioning, elevates
    the Schuylkill's mystery into frozen heat-
truth & beauty all in the browning, decay, fate
    of all water-bodies subject to our meat-
I sit on the edge, watching overhanging leaves,
   frozen myself by the gross negligence
      of what lies beneath the river's surface,
& my own, as the summer sun inverts, grieves
   for the masses, exploring no penitence
      as I am, grounded, here, diving for purpose-