Things the River Carries: NaPoWriMo



I think of things the river has carried—


Lenape canoes and wooden ships with sails,

spices, barrels, and bails,

the stuff of merchant cargoes.


Immigrants and slaves

carried across ocean waves

seeking a safe harbor.


Geese and gulls

swimming around the hulls

and among the debris


left from centuries–


tree branches and stumps

animals that jump

to swim—away


never staying,




things the river has, is, will be



dreams of a better life,

perhaps a husband or a wife,

or freedom, almost


touching, joining the ghosts

watching from the coast

history and things, strings


of visions with wings—

decisions and stings

flowing with the tide


hopes, feathers, trees,

flowing from river to sea,

passing like time,

and then away from me


For the NaPoWriMo prompt, Day Nine “list of things,” and for guest host, Linda, at dVerse  who asks us to write about prompt water.






49 thoughts on “Things the River Carries: NaPoWriMo

  1. I love the shape of the poem and the way it flows like the very river you write about. And how the past, present, and future all combine beautifully here. Wonderful Merril! Thank you for joining in.

  2. Wow wow Merril! This is simplr splendid, and the choice to open the poem to so many possibilities by putting things in the current. Endless possibilities, and you embraced them beautifully! Bravo!

  3. It seems that the flow of the poem almost makes me forget that you have positioned yourself as observer until the last line brings back your presence with a snap, firmly rooting us back in the present as a journey to past and future ends “away from me.” Amazing.

  4. Pingback: Ode to My Shower – Zouxzoux

  5. Oh I do love the way this one rhymes and flows – it’s rocking gently like waves and water! And it’s interesting isn’t it; the river carries so many things with it, gathers up more as it travels, and they all become an essential part of it in the end.

    I was…completely barren of inspiration for Day 9, unfortunately. Oddly enough it has to do with water too, I just realised – except this involves soap suds and dirty water.

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