The River Collection

The Rivers
The River Flows

The Collection

“The River Collection” is a short anthology of poems I have written about rivers, which is one of the most popular ‘nature” subjects (along with trees) for poets and writers. In the first poem The River Knows and also The River’s Flow I attempted to imitate the style of famed Irish poet Seamus Heaney. This wasn’t that easy because his form, rhyme scheme (or not), and meter changes from poem to poem. So, I chose one of his works The Harvest Bow and used it for my inspiration.

The River Knows

Strolling by the river, risks are fraught,
Your demeanour indicated deeper thought.
I took your hand but your response was slow
Just like the water’s rippling flow.
Words were tangled, bitter in my throat
And conversation started by you nought.

Is it so long ago I saw you swoon?
We sat as lovers staring at the moon
Exchanging words of love, was it a dream?
Now tongue-tied both, the only sound the stream.
Our sad discomfort felt by only us,
The river babbles by, oblivious.

Should I extract words from my aching heart?
It makes me wonder were you just a flirt?
I toss a stone, it skims, and then it sinks
To the dark bottom of the river’s depths.
The river is much wiser than us both
The riddle answered by the sinking stone.


Rivers in Haiku

1. A small stream trickles
But as it travels it grows
Into a river.

2. The river is wide
Flowing and meandering
Through hills and valleys.

3. The river rages
Destroying all in its path
Flood waters, beware!

4. A bear sits watching
The rivulet flowing by
Fish for lunch today.

5. Salmon swim upstream
Against the flowing current
Spawn, then die, the quest.


The River’s Flow

The river meanders through the hills
For ten thousand years, and it flows still.
Weathered rocks eroded from its flow,
It builds up speed through rapids, then it slows.
Much life exists along its winding course
But man diverts the flow with scant remorse.

Farmers crave more water for their crops,
Through dams and weirs the natural flow stops.
For nature’s sake a balance must be reached,
Are man’s desires more worthy than the rest?
Creatures that have every right to live
Bow before the human’s need to thieve.

The countryside holds its attraction still,
Thriving fields and emerald green the hills.
But ancient trees just wither and they die
And birds in number lessen in the sky.
We must restore the river’s flow again
So nature’s real renewal can begin.


by John Hansen 2020

The River Knows
The River Knows
John Hansen
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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBook of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years are now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

8 thoughts on “The River Collection

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:06 PM

      Cheers Phyllis. I appreciate you reading and also the kind comment. How I spelled “Haiku” wrong I do not know…fixed now, thanks.

  • February 24, 2020 at 9:07 PM

    Hello Rasma. I am pleased you enjoyed these poems. Thank you.

  • February 25, 2020 at 3:19 AM

    Rivers, mountains, the aspen trees here in Colorado make the poet in my want to write stories of understanding. Wonderful poems John and much enjoyed.

  • February 25, 2020 at 4:27 AM

    Hi Kurt, who doesn’t love the variety of landscape rivers, mountains and trees provide, and they are all great fodder for writers. Thank you for reading. Glad you enjoyed.

  • February 29, 2020 at 5:50 PM

    Many memories of great rivers. Well penned and enjoyable to read. Loved these John. Jamie

  • February 29, 2020 at 9:51 PM

    Thank you Jamie. So many great rivers in the world. Glad you enjoyed these poems.


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