“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