The Matanuska River

I wrote this song when we lived near this Alaskan river, which was our favorite and frequent hiking spot all year around.

(photos below)

The Matanuska River

by Gail Ruth


Down by the old bridge on the Matanuska River
There’s a rocky glacial riverbed that changes ev’ry day
And down below the old bridge flows that twining glacial river
That’s twined its way into our hearts and pulls us out to play.

Ever sculpting, ever shaping, ever busy excavating
Hewing channels, relocating gravel bars and rocks
Noting all the redesign that’s formed anew from day to day
Is one of the great joys we share together on our walks.


Roaming open riverbed
List’ning to the river sound
Seeing mountains reaching high
Exploring new-laid ground


Winter waters crystal clear, the filigree of snow and silt
Overflow and harsh wind forging ever-new design
And in the Spring the jaunts to play with old and rotting river ice
That shatters into crystal shards ––a pleasure rare and fine.

In summer it’s an icy rush of silted swirling grey-brown melt
We watch the turbid patterns of glacier running free
And in the warmer sunny days, the waters quickly rising
Spilling out new landscape carved with rivulet and stream.


Exploring new-laid rocky ground
List’ning to the river sound
We little bits of flesh and bone
Love that place of silt and stone


Down by the old bridge on the Matanuska River
There’s a rocky glacial riverbed that changes ev’ry day
And down below the old bridge flows that twining glacial river
That’s twined its way into our hearts and pulls us out to play.


©2010. Gail Ruth Bayless. All rights reserved.

Down by the old bridge on the Matanuska River
A rocky glacier riverbed
That twining glacier river…
It twined its way into our hearts and pulled us out to play.
Hewing channels, relocating gravel bars and rocks.
Every day designed anew.
Roaming open riverbed…
Listening to the river sound
Mountains reaching high
Winter waters crystal clear
The filigree of snow and silt
Harsh winds that forge beautiful designs.
The fine pleasure of shattering old, rotting river ice.
Springtime’s crystal shards
The icy, turbid waters of glacier running free…
As the glacier melts over a stretch of warm summer days, the waters rise quickly.
We little bits of flesh and bone loved that place of silt and stone…