Flowing Downstream

Photo:  Mary Kling

Photo: Mary Kling

It’s hard to believe that I came from such an abusive and chaotic life just a few short miles on the other side of this river.

Life with drug abusing parents who both ended up in prison was no picnic.  And then to have been put in foster homes and separated from my little sister was like moving from one desperate situation to another.  Foster parents can be unfeeling and insensitive to what children come from.  Most are in it for the money that the state gives them, not from a place of compassion.

Somehow I ended up making it through high school and continuing my education to become a successful businessman in the city.  I even managed to reunite with my sister and help her get an education too.  I have much to be thankful for and I don’t take any of it for granted.  This river keeps flowing downstream…and so do I.

a twig floats downstream
nothing impedes its journey
river buoys all

Mary Kling has shared three photographs of hers to inspire our fourth Monday Haibun challenge.  I chose a contemplative man on the bank of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.  Please join us.  The link will be up for an entire week over at dVerse Poets beginning at 3PM EST December 7, 2015:  http://dversepoets.com/

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  1. Shows a determined character like a river.


  2. Best regards from one who knows such journeys all too well. Bonne courage!


  3. So important to be able to make a good life for oneself as one ‘flows’ down life’s river. Some rivers are more turbulent and rocky than others, but this man sounds like he is well equipped for the journey.


  4. Sometimes we have to learn to float when it’s needed and save our determination to when swimming is truly needed… But at the end the river always reach the sea.. I like the metaphor a lot…


  5. Choices…a perfect title for this, Gayle. I have cousins whose father was mentally ill and abusive. The choices they made allowed them to become wonderful persons, while others could have used it was an excuse for their downfall. I like the image of the floating twig to illustrate this.


  6. Just like the river, some rough spots, but continuing to flow onward to the true destination. I like to look at this man and see him thinking about his choices – how he chose to ride out the rough spots, to help his sister. So many could have made excuses and not done well with their lives. I think he has the wisdom of the river to impart to us all.


  7. Glenn Buttkus

     /  December 7, 2015

    A lot of us rough starts, rocky childhoods, & you are bang on that the choices we make shape our character & our lives. I was the first one in my whole family to go to college, & though the negative experiences remain as darkness within, I chose not to emulate it. A fine & inspiring haibun, Gayle,


  8. Two potential
    human responses to
    most types of bullying
    are victory
    or vengeance..
    and we see results
    of that everywhere
    we look where Love
    does not reach
    heArt.. spiRit
    and soUl
    of human
    being Real…

    No re-fills 4love holes
    iNo feeling giving
    Whole Love..:)


  9. It takes a special person to overcome and break the chain- kudos to you!


  10. I admire his determination, gratitude and overall positive attitude towards life ~ We all have our challenges but what we do with our path is our own decision ~

    Love that haiku line, the river buoys us all, Gayle ~


  11. I too chose this photo but my perspective is not as positive as yours. I wonder whether people are as grateful as your persona. I think sometimes they choose to forget as a means to protect themselves from painful memories.


    • I just finished reading yours, Gabriella. I think some people do feel gratitude and others bury their feelings to try and forget their hurts. But I think they may surface in some form or another if we choose to pretend things never happened.


  12. Interestingly, your closing haiku seems to contradict the prose piece: the obstacles impeding his journey all too visible in the first part, but the line in the haiku stating the opposite. I take it to mean that it’s all about attitude and belief, that the river can buoy us all or drown us, depending how we look at it.


  13. ”River buoys all” – true in this case. Written with thoughtful insight.


  14. The haiku completes the story of transformation. Your protagonist was unlucky with his foster parents: I am sure the majority do it for love, and to make a difference, as there’s really not much money in it!


  15. There seemed to be a deep sense of fulfillment but also a tinge of regret considering he had to go against all odds to be there.



  16. Peoples’ stories are always so amazing. It is rare for a child of the foster care system to make it to higher education……..I love that nothing impeded his journey down the river.


  17. That is what life feels like. Like a river crashing through and making its way to its goal. The thing that allows it are the impediments as flowing over and around them increases it’s might! Beautiful poem!


  18. Love the outcome here. Rather than being the victim, this man contemplates coming through his troubles with an appreciation for life. Very nice. Peace, Linda


  19. Expertly written. You really got into his soul…



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