Men stand still as trunks,
size us up as hunters do.
Mothers pause, smile a little,
a courtesy to strangers on the river.
Children laughing with their eyes
run the bank naked or not
good will grinning across the water.
They wave and we wave back
until we turn the bend,
carrying away the memory.
We left the Amazon and kept pushing further upstream on smaller tributaries deeper into the Peruvian rain forest. At night occasional lights from huts along the stream flickered like fireflies through the trees. By day we passed silent native people as curious about us as we were of them.
If I were in school and teacher said to write about what I did this summer, Sounds of Rain would be what I did in the summer of 2003. We took a trip and I brought back 90 pages of notes and hundreds of pictures. You don’t have to go to Peru. A trip to your own back yard is worth writing about!
David L. Harrison has published eighty-nine books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers and educational books for teachers. He is poet laureate of Drury University and David Harrison Elementary School is named for him. His work has been anthologized in more than 120 books, translated into twelve languages, sandblasted in a library sidewalk, painted on a bookmobile, and presented on television, radio, podcast, and video stream. Let’s Write This Week with David Harrison is a 20-episode video program that brings writing tips into elementary classrooms and offers graduate college credit for teachers. David holds degrees from Drury and Emory universities. Two universities have presented him with honorary doctorates of letters. His poetry collection, Pirates, represented Missouri at the 2013 National Book Fair in Washington, D.C.