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Poetry Prompts

Monday Poetry Prompt: River

This week let’s write a river poem. Whether standing on their banks or driving across one on a bridge, you can’t help but feel the metaphors streaming by. Let’s put them to good use before they flow into the sea and post the results in the comments below.

Extra credit: include the word fluviology.


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.


37 thoughts on “Monday Poetry Prompt: River

  1. The ocean roils and churns inside
    A tempest of emotions I cannot hide
    The waves of neglect crash against my shore
    Leaving me battered, broken and sore

    I long to dive into the cool, clear depths
    To escape the pain and emotional depts
    But the ocean is vast and treacherous, I fear
    I cannot swim, I cannot persevere

    So I stand on the shore and watch it rage
    Hoping for calm, for a brighter age
    But the waves of neglect continue to pound
    Leaving me lost and adrift, no solid ground

    I am a ship tossed on a stormy sea
    Searching for safe harbor, desperately
    But the neglect just keeps on coming, never-ending
    Leaving me to face it, defending

    I am but a small and fragile vessel
    In the face of this emotional wrestle
    But I’ll keep on fighting, keep on trying
    Hoping one day the ocean will stop denying

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by A POET ON MOTION | December 31, 2022, 2:22 AM
  2. In silence
    the perfection of creation is seen
    the noise we make
    a crass ugliness on the world
    is our selfish addition

    Oh river!
    cleanse me of my arrogance
    wipe away these words from the page
    dissolve them in truth
    so that all that is left
    is a reflection
    of the true Word
    the only word ever spoken
    echoing forever
    in the still silence
    calling for those that will submit
    to the scrutiny of the quiet

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Chris Clarke | November 20, 2022, 12:36 PM
  3. River

    I wanted to be a lake
    But you made me a river
    Passion gushed from my sanctuary
    Earnestly flowed toward you

    You were an island
    But I wanted you to be a raft
    I was so far gone with my mind
    incapable of being tied down

    My tears broke the flood gate
    Forever gone with the stream

    Liked by 3 people

    Posted by Cassa Bassa | November 15, 2022, 5:14 PM
  4. Usually I take a week on a prompt but this is close to home.

    Delmarva does not boast
    A mighty river like the Mississippi
    All the smaller rivers, streams, and creeks,
    A fluviologists dream,
    Flow to the mighty Chesapeake estuary
    Where sweet blue crabs dream blue crab dreams

    Liked by 4 people

    Posted by Second Act Blogger | November 14, 2022, 10:45 PM
  5. My years of fluviology
    have done nothing
    to help me understand
    this river of tears

    Liked by 3 people

    Posted by JeanMarie | November 14, 2022, 10:14 PM
  6. At the banks of Styx
    waters of sorrow
    flow into nowhere
    a fluviological anomaly
    just like the course of tears
    burning their trails
    across cheeks, over the jaw
    Two flowing tributes
    to human folly,
    judgement, remorse
    paid in water,
    blind in all ways
    but blissfully serene…

    Liked by 3 people

    Posted by utopicdystopian | November 14, 2022, 10:00 AM
  7. Shade

    When poetry means more to the poet’s loving eye,
    than it does on the page, rewrite.
    White page and black marks winding and looping
    are all the reader has for mapping the interior.

    A misread sign, a fluvial boundary
    a path mistaken for a river,
    is not the fault, never the fault
    of that random reader’s eye,

    The reader who selects from the bin a used book,
    blows dust from the cover, turns the page,
    scanning, the way a fortune teller reads a proffered palm,
    to try which way the universe is blowing,

    Not the reader’s error that leads into sin, but yours,
    the designer who lays traps, bad allusions,
    plants fruit trees along the street,
    with harvest ripe for picking, pendulous and sweet.

    When all along the man with reading glasses
    in the heat, thirty seven centigrade,
    wanted, was looking for, only wished to find,
    a cooling thought of shade.

    Liked by 4 people

    Posted by ts19page | November 14, 2022, 9:59 AM
    • Very nice, especially the fluvial stanza. It does raise the interesting question of how much should we, as poets, demand from our readers. The answer, of course, is “depends” the same as every other question. Well done.


      Posted by Bartholomew Barker | November 14, 2022, 7:13 PM
      • Yes, I agree, this question is better left unanswered, especially since demands upon people who are not inclined to experience the world in a learning mode, are simply rejected, and who can blame them? The seeking mind…not common.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by ts19page | November 14, 2022, 10:34 PM
    • This poem made me wonder what’s the poet wrote that is so intriguing to the reader.


      Posted by Cassa Bassa | November 15, 2022, 5:01 PM
      • Well, the thing is – the poem is not intriguing if the meaning is lost upon the reader, as I guess, ironically, was true with this poem! To explain: If you are looking for a nice love poem and you find a poem about the futility of love, that would not work, right? Thanks for reading..


        Posted by ts19page | November 15, 2022, 6:02 PM
      • Sometimes a poem is open to interpretation depending on the reader’s own experience and perception of views. I guess the power of poetry can be in the uncertainty. Though provoking! I like a poem that I read and reread and ponder on. The opportunity to interact with the writer makes it even more interesting. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by Cassa Bassa | November 15, 2022, 9:44 PM
      • *thought provoking.


        Posted by Cassa Bassa | November 15, 2022, 9:44 PM
      • I agree! A poem can have many dimensions and some show up only after several readings.


        Posted by ts19page | November 16, 2022, 9:27 AM
  8. A bridge poem of mine…

    Splintered Bridges

    Bridges of ancient dreams spanned
    On the wings of the bridled albatross
    Flying over shallow lakes of delta dross

    Bridges crossing from there to where
    Above the worlds fractured rivers
    Meandering from there to here
    Connecting lonely bridal hands
    Of people from faraway lands

    Bridges trekked by torn and splintered feet
    And blooded by bomb-blasted streets

    Liked by 4 people

    Posted by ivor20 | November 14, 2022, 7:25 AM

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