Slaughter by the River


An arm uncovered                   on the bed

by the river                             exposed to light

a chance discovery                   wounded by words

gruesome secrets                     torn by battles

the smoking gun identified       love lost

only shards remain                   in epic battles

from a time long past              no victors here

we’ll never know why             only ghosts remain


This is a cleave poem for Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge. “A cleave poem is in two halves, two separate poems, one on the left, one on the right, but that make a single poem when you read them together. It sounds tricky…and it is.”


This poem was inspired by this article about finding fossils and artifacts from a huge Bronze Age battle.


35 thoughts on “Slaughter by the River

  1. Now that looks really tricky. You’ve mastered the cleave poem beautifully; the poems work individually and together. I like the source of inspiration, too!

  2. Fascinating, Merril. You really captured both past and present, telling powerful stories individually and collectively.

    This is the kind of challenge I enjoy. I’m not a poet but you inspire me to try.

  3. Pingback: Poetry challenge Cleave Poem: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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