Poems about Rivers

Death of a Young Son by Drowning by Margaret Atwood

‘Death of a Young Son by Drowning’ by Margaret Atwood is a beautiful and impactful poem about the death of Susanna Moodie’s young son. Atwood explores the grief of the mother and how her life changed. 

Death of a Young Son by Drowing by Margaret Atwood Visual Representation

Ask Me by William Stafford

‘Ask Me’ appears in William Stafford’s one of the best-known poetry collections, Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford. This metaphorical poem is bout life and memories.

Ask Me by William Stafford Visual Representation

Belle Isle, 1949 by Philip Levine

‘Belle Isle, 1949’ by Philip Levine is a poem about a series of moments from a speaker’s youth. He swims in the Detroit River and then returns to his life. 

Belle Isle, 1949 by Philip Levine Visual Representation

The River by Sara Teasdale

‘The River’ by Sara Teasdale is a short and effective poem. It uses a river as a narrator and describes its journey towards the ocean.

the river by sara teasdale visual representation

Suicide’s Note by Langston Hughes

‘Suicide’s Note’ is a three-line poem that speaks from the perspective of someone who wants to take their own life. They feel the “cool face” of the river asking them for a “kiss.”

Suicide's Note by Langston Hughes Visual Representation

A River by A. K. Ramanujan

‘A River’ by A.K. Ramanujan focuses on the Madurai River, how it has been depicted by poets throughout time, and brings the suffering that exists along its banks to the reader’s attention.

Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Concord Hymn’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the spirit which inhabited the “embattled farmers” at the start of the Revolutionary War. 

The Three Fates by Rosemary Dobson

‘The Three Fates’ by Rosemary Dobson describes the life of a man who is forced to live through the same events, in reverse, for eternity. 

Quai de la Tournelle by John Dos Passos

‘Quai de la Tournelle’ by John Dos Passos is a poem about a lost love and how the sights and sounds of the Seine River in Paris bring that love to mind.

Love Is Not A Word by Riyas Qurana

‘Love Is Not A Word’ by Riyas Qurana, is a poem that personifies love and dives into the notion of love and what is needed to maintain it in relationships.

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas wrote his famous poem ‘Fern Hill’ as a way of looking back towards childhood and appreciating the pure joy that becomes so hard to find after.

Life is Fine by Langston Hughes

‘Life is Fine’ by Langston Hughes is a playful ditty. The poem is about a man who is suffering and contemplating suicide but is still able to see the beauty in life.

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