Brautigan > The Return of the Rivers

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's The Return of the Rivers. Published in 1957, and bound in paper wrappers, this single poem in two parts was Brautigan's first published poetry book. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.


Richard Brautigan's poem, The Return of the Rivers, is a single poem in two parts.

"The Return of the Rivers"
The Return of the Rivers

All the rivers run into the sea;
yet the sea is not full;
unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.

     It is raining today
in the mountains.

     It is a warm green rain
with love
in its pockets
for spring is here,
and does not dream
of death.

     Birds happen music
like clocks ticking heaves
in a land
where children love spiders,
and let them sleep
in their hair.

     A slow rain sizzles
on the river
like a pan
full of frying flowers,
and with each drop
of rain
the ocean
begins again.

Selected Reprints
Berkeley Review, vol. 1, no. 3, 1957, pp. 14-15.
Published 1921 Walnut Street, Berkeley, California, 1956-1957. Edited/published by William P. Barlow, Jr., George Huppert, and C. A. Tong.
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