Susan Williams

~~~~~the River~~~~~ - Poem by Susan Williams

The river deep and dark
~~~flowing through the night
carrying flotsam and jetsam
~~~through the shadowy moonlight
drowning secrets upon secrets in its depths
~~~washing away the bones, washing away the blood
from the sins of mankind along its course
~~~lapping eagerly against the shores of mud
smelling of ebbing fish
~~~smelling of riverbed slime
upstream and downstream pulling everything under
~~~into the most relentless good-bye of all time
the river rippling over its shallows and rolling through its currents
~~~ever flowing ever streaming
ever burbling against the rounded smooth pebbles on its shores
~~~ever its dark lurid song dreaming
carrying memories like burnt offerings in its eddies
~~~leaving forgetfulness in its wake
River Lethe drifting thoughtlessly along
~~~toward the confluence of the Columbia and the Snake.
.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~©2017 Susan Williams.

Form: Verse

Comments about ~~~~~the River~~~~~ by Susan Williams

  • Simone Inez Harriman (10/1/2017 8:36:00 PM)

    A lovely sense of timelessness. The ever flowing ancient river and her parts of collective energy as she flows and folds away errors and era's of men as she journeys toward the Snake. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (10/5/2017 6:18:00 PM)

    Thank you Simone for reading this- -you always seem to know what feel; ing I am trying to evoke!

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron (9/11/2017 6:55:00 PM)

    Delightful, Susan - absolutely delightful. I have often contemplated the cleansing power of rivers. You have captured the idea simply and clearly. (Report) Reply

    Moira Cameron (9/14/2017 2:59:00 PM)

    You are most welcome! I have been too busy to visit this site lately, but I had a few minutes to catch up on all my favourite poets' recent contributions. It was good to revisit with friends!

    Susan Williams (9/13/2017 3:00:00 PM)

    Hey, Moira! ! ! ! I am so pleased that this poem delighted you! It means everything to me to read a reader's comment and find he/she found my write to have been worthwhile! You put a great big grin on my face, my friend. :))

  • Daniel Brick (6/13/2017 10:54:00 PM)

    WOW! This poem humbled me. Living within three miles of the Mississippi River, and frequently walking along the very high banks above its wide flow, I thought I know everything about rivers - It's the Mississippi, for crisssake, that makes me an expert, right? Wrong! Your poem took me down to the water's edge and I saw the river bloated with debris, churning its own course, oblivious to me. Now I know why T.S.Eliot called the Mississippi A STRONG BROWN GOD - the two of you poets have humbled me. Which is the proper state for a poet to be in. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/15/2017 4:11:00 PM)

    Daniel, words of high praise because you are one of the most observant poets I have ever read! I am jumping up and down on the banks of the Mississippi like a little schoolgirl celebrating her first gold star from the Teacher! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! And then mentioned in the same sentence as T S Eliot and his A STRONG BROWN GOD- - oh! nobody wake me up from this DREAM! ! ! I remember as a child looking forward to taking the bridge over the Mississippi River on our way back East- -the great historic Mississippi River, the gateway to the west in my history lessons.... and I was sooooo soiooo disappointed that it was so brown and sluggish..... I grew up beside the mighty blue waters of the Columbia and I expected the Mississippi to out-mighty and out-blue and put the Columbia to shame. Well, in later years I forgave the river - - it still held a giant role in the history of North America.

  • B.m. Biswas (6/12/2017 10:53:00 PM)

    The greatness of this poem..... the live images, the very theme connecting it to the humanity and so making the river act as one having deep feelings.... being a perfect example of 'pathetic fallacy', ... the allusion to the Lethe and many more beyond my knowledge attracting the learned readers and the common....... Thanks... S. Nurul. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/13/2017 4:45:00 PM)

    Thank you! The River Lethe is as you know a mythical river out of the classic writings.... The Columbia River is a well-known river in the American Northwest and the Snake is somewhat well-known in this area and in history. There is absolutely no reason for people who don't live in America to recognize their names! Sorry about that. But it is the Columbia River that I walk beside and sit beside and have played beside and I just felt compelled to use its name and that of the Snake in this poem. My bad! ! I should have warned readers in an Author's note about them. But the important thing is that you understood what I was doing with the rivers.... they are a mighty symbol of many things in our life.

  • Savita Tyagi (6/10/2017 4:32:00 PM)

    You have some dark images in the poem still I feel the image of river itself is just too powerful. If its darkness pitted against the darkness of heart the river will still washe away any darkness of human heart. That is why I find the poem simply beautiful and soothing. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/12/2017 3:49:00 PM)

    I am glad you added this comment to your first comment. I was starting to think I hadn't done my job well but you have it- -the river is beautiful and the river is powerful and it is both cold but it is also healing and nourishing as it cleans the sins of mankind be it pollution or sins of a moral nature.... it is Life itself... Thank you, Savita, for giving this poem your undivided attention. I learn so much from the comments of involved readers! .

  • Savita Tyagi (6/10/2017 4:22:00 PM)

    Such a lovely poem. Rivers are so much part of our life. A beautiful part that seems to be getting farther and farther from us. Reading it I simply imagined myself sitting by its cold water and playing with pebbles. I wrote a poem long time back ' river calls me' simply to take me back to river shore through memory. Thank you for sharing Susan. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/12/2017 3:53:00 PM)

    I am always drawn to rivers.... they re such a huge part of our history and our culture and our economy and our artistry and the site of some of our loveliest moments. Thank you, Savita, for reading and commenting! !

  • Kathy Van Kurin (6/5/2017 10:01:00 PM)

    Susan Williams,
    This was such a lovely and creative writing structure you created. I found it even more enjoyable to read.
    the River seemed so like time that just keeps running a long.
    flowing through the night, carrying jetsam and flotsam, through the shadowy moonlight. Drowning secrets upon secrets in its depths.
    The river Lethe......Very impressive as you connected it with the Columbia and the Snake rivers. so lovely to read and lovely poem! You have encouraged me!
    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/8/2017 12:05:00 AM)

    Kathy, you make an author feel good about his work! ! ! That means you are the encouraging one! Thank you, and many blessings on you as well!

  • (6/4/2017 10:14:00 PM)

    A darkly rich evocative work Susan, very gothic in its undertones and imagery, if Edgar Allen Poe was a vampire who was still around writing poetry its something he would write it seems, for the modern age. I love the rhyming and it flows like a river black and depthless riches. Phantasmagorical. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/5/2017 4:48:00 PM)

    Thank you so very much for this comment- -I would love some of my poems to sound Poe-ish, he is such a master of creating emotions with his choice of words, the sounds of words, the repetition of words. This comment put a skip in my hop! ! ! Thank you again, Patrick!

  • Hazel Durham (6/4/2017 12:59:00 PM)

    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/4/2017 3:18:00 PM)

    Hey Hazel! I am pleased that this poem touched you so vividly- - you write such encouraging words to your fellow writers- - makes us go forth and try even harder! ! !

  • Kim Barney (6/4/2017 3:33:00 AM)

    I have heard of the Columbia and the Snake, but had not heard of the Lethe River. Your poem makes me want to go there and get to know it, though. Your use of words is amazing. Your 'mining for words' in the dictionary has really paid off. When I was younger, I would occasionally 'read' the dictionary. Then I discovered Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, Ken Holt mystery stories and the Hardy Boys, and others, so I didn't read the dictionary very much after that.
    As others have commented, this is a great poem.
    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/4/2017 3:01:00 PM)

    As you can imagine, when I graduated [somewhat] from reading the dictionary, I went to... guess what... the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley! ! ! Dang near blinded myself by reading by moonlight coming through the window over my bed. You won't really find the River Lethe here, the river of forgetfulness exists only in the myths of ancient mythology along with the River Styx and its celebrated boatsman [every so often I have to try to wax erudite ;) ]Thank you for coming and reading and commenting, Kim

  • Chinedu Dike (6/3/2017 10:16:00 PM)

    You'll never cease to amaze me with your intellectual passion for poetry. I like the rhythm of profundity and mercury-like flow of the piece. Awesome indeed. Thanks for sharing Susan and remain blessed. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/4/2017 2:40:00 PM)

    WoW! ! ! Thank you for such an encouraging comment... I may have to go off somewhere and deflate my head! ! ! You are exceedingly kind, Chinedu! !

  • Pamela Sinicrope (6/3/2017 10:10:00 AM)

    A beautiful burbling poem! I love words and tildas that recall your theme. I read this poem on FB and thought it was beautiful. It's also interesting to me how you can take unsavory images and place them into a beautiful river, a pretty rhyme scheme- the juxtaposition was not lost on me. The final lines bring it together. The confluence, the merging of two rivers that created Hell's canyon. Interesting and unsettling ride-the most relentless good-bye of all time. Thanks for sharing your talent Susan. Take care. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/3/2017 6:27:00 PM)

    Pamela, it is so good to hear from you again! I didn't know if it would work, that juxtaposition, but I didn't want a beautiful river poem, I wanted a this is life river, sometimes smooth and restful, sometimes cruel, sometimes on our side, sometimes antithetical to mankind. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me about this poem- -you give good helpful feedback. Bless you and stay safe yourself

  • Unwritten Soul (6/3/2017 5:45:00 AM)

    Really, this poetry is a beautifully done by such words, meaning...woven in very nicely...somehow i know, the depth of river will still shallow as compared to what in your like a river still, let it flow all and soon you be united in a sea of experiences... and it even salty, because so many people share the same flow too there...take care, keep on moving to live well as long as water still moving, as long as wind still blowing..keep going~! (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/3/2017 6:08:00 PM)

    Lovely comment- -you obviously delved deeply into this poem and thought many deep thoughts- -and isn't that just exactly what we want people to do when reading our poems? I am grateful, Soul, for your thoughts on this subject. They flowed like a river! ! !

  • Glen Kappy (6/2/2017 7:38:00 AM)


    not having visited your poetry for a while, i came on this, and cool! - one of the best i've seen from you.

    as in your poem on rain, there's an excellent display of verbs- lapping, burbling, etc.- and a good use of rhymes, i.e., they flow like the poem, like the river- naturally, as if by accident.

    in me i'm reminded of a scene in hesse's siddhartha where the title character has a transformative experience sitting by a river.

    this was a pleasant surprise, a satisfying read.

    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/2/2017 3:58:00 PM)

    I appreciate your comment on my verbs- - I am a word lover. When I was a child and just learning to read, I found the joys of mining for words in the dictionary and it has been that way ever since. I am very pleased to hear the words flowed like a river! Thank you for your pleasant comment

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (6/1/2017 10:54:00 AM)

    A vision so deep for the River that flows and flows and gathers with it various objects of nature and the impeccable rhythm of life. I loved the vocabulary and the metaphors. To quote:
    the river rippling over its shallows and rolling through its currents
    ~~~ever flowing ever streaming
    ever burbling against the rounded smooth pebbles on its shores
    ~~~ever its dark lurid song dreaming
    Wonderful Poetry! Enjoyed reading it. God bless you, Susan!
    Top Marks
    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (6/2/2017 3:30:00 PM)

    Thank you Geeta for showing me which lines really spoke to you about the river's movement. That is a huge help for the author to know. I am very happy to hear you enjoyed this piece since I respect your opinion and your poetry skills! God bless you and keep you, Geeta, you bring a lot of good things to the PH group!

  • Nosheen Irfan (5/31/2017 1:34:00 AM)

    This is one of your best poems Susan. Beautifully descriptive and full of depth. River as a metaphor for life that keeps flowing, gathering a history of sins, sufferings in its immeasurable wonderfully written. This one goes straight to my favorite poem list. A work of great intellect and a beautiful heart. A super 10. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (5/31/2017 2:16:00 PM)

    Thank you Nosheen- it pleases me immensely that you put this on your list of favorites! That is a huge compliment. And thank you for the remark about my intellect- -because there sure are days I feel brainless! And a super thank you for the 10!

  • (5/29/2017 1:07:00 PM)

    dear, with a humble sensitivity of poetry, to me, the river and its flow is time and its travel.. in the night. and it is amazing poem. and this is half face of space and time magic. other half will be with the day. so I hope for that one too. very nice theme and poem presented (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (5/29/2017 2:25:00 PM)

    Thank you dear friend for coming and reading and delving deep into it and commenting- -I know we are a busy lot here on PH, we are writing and polishing and editing and reading the works of other poets and thinking about their work and writing a comment on their work and GASP we are a sweet bunch of people to find the time to do all this. So when I thank you for reading and delving and commenting I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart!

  • Valsa George (5/29/2017 12:25:00 AM)

    drowning secrets upon secrets in its depths
    ~~~washing away the bones, washing away the blood
    from the sins of mankind along its course

    This is a stunning write.... perhaps one of your best! Seeing a river's smooth flow, only a poet of great imagination can think like this! A river is indeed in the process of cleansing! It washes away the dirt men callously leave here and there and purifies the land from all traces of sin! That is why we should preserve this source of heavenly elixir from drying up! This poem is beyond rating!
    (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (5/29/2017 2:08:00 PM)

    Yes! ! ! I knew you would see the center of this poem! ! The River can be a symbol of different things in this poem- -life's journey; the indifference of life, nature's condemnation of mankind, nature cleaning up after man, a force of good, a force of evil.... the list goes on and I like it to go on and on like the flow of a river. I am proud to hear you think so highly of this poem- -it validates the effort behind it to know someone I esteem has such feelings toward it. Thank you so much, Valsa!

  • Marie Shine (5/28/2017 7:25:00 AM)

    An excellent metaphoric write penned in stunning visual detail. Perfect rhythm and rhyme throughout the poem which flows as smoothly and as effortlessly as 'The River' down the page. A very potent tribute to the rivers in your locality, Susan. I enjoyed reading very much and thank you for sharing. Blessings always... (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (5/28/2017 2:47:00 PM)

    Thank you, Marie. That comment pumped me up, that's for sure! I worked hard on this one but also tried very hard not to over-work it. That is the most difficult thing for me- -to know when to quit, to know when it is better to simplify... the subject matter of this~~~the flow of the river~~~~ helped me to keep the lines flowing steadily. I appreciate your examination of its mechanics- keeps me on course!

  • (5/27/2017 2:31:00 AM)

    Loved this Susan! You've described the Columbia River well...and of course the Snake River. Know people who have the Snake River in their back acres yard. Back in the day, i was always impressed by the mighty Columbia - driving along side of it on I-5 on our way to Portland- to Santa Monica....back in the day before any nasty leaks from Hanford existed. You have this innate ability to paint with words - - most any topic you write about and this dear poetess is a tremendous gift. You continue to be a joy to read. A 10++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (Report) Reply

    (5/30/2017 2:11:00 AM)

    Yes, living here i miss most all of the beauty of Washington State - however, am unfamiliar with the vampires and werewolves of Fork. Living here is like living on the edge of a desert - - but cannot lie - i do not miss the cloudy wet weather. Prefer a drier, warmer clime. Although Washington never gets that cold... i could not bear living in places like North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan or all of the northern states that have such unforgiving bitter cold weather. The cold puts my body into total rejection mode.

    Susan Williams (5/27/2017 3:07:00 PM)

    Theo! ! ! Do you miss the variety of WA- -from volcanoes, and snow-covered mountains and thick foests and rain forests to the mighty Columbia and the desert and Puget Sound and vampires and werewolves in Fork? [couldn't resist the latter two attractions] Thank you for the lovely words of support! You always give a lift, my friend!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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