Prompt #211 – Find the River

Howdy poets! And welcome to the first ever Red Wolf Poems prompt. We invite you to think, consider, and write. And your poem might be selected for Issue 2 of Red Wolf Journal. For more information about the upcoming issue, read our call for submissions.

Tawnya and I said this in our call for submissions: “Water, especially rivers, has been rooted in the human consciousness perhaps since the beginning of our existence as a species.” Maybe that’s why we keep being inspired by them, fascinated by them, and depicting them in our arts: visual, literary, and music. This week I’m going to ask you to use music as a jump off point to find your poem.

Middle fork of the Gila River, SW New Mexico. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pick a song that is either about rivers or speaks of rivers in some way, shape, or form. My personal favorite is “Find the River” by R.E.M., especially these lyrics:

The ocean is the river’s goal,
a need to leave the water knows –
we’re closer now than light years to go.

(If you don’t know a good river song: here are some suggestions: “Take Me to the River” by Al Green or the Talking Heads; “Yes, the River Knows”, by The Doors; “Proud Mary”; “Big River” by Johnny Cash; “As I Went Down to the River to Pray”, “Dam that River” by Alice In Chains; “Green River” by Credence Clearwater Revival; “Old Man River”, “River of Time” by Van Morrison. Or…you could check out this list.)

The idea is, pick a song about rivers, or with a river in it, that inspires you. Listen to it, over and over again. Let your mind grab onto a lyric and wander. Let the song drip into you and look at your reflection in its clear, limpid pools.

A suggestion: if you’re like me and you normally come out with a coherent first draft, try to abandon your customary (especially if it is somewhat left-brained) way to produce a poem and just free-write first, letting your unconscious mind take the lead. Don’t censor, don’t edit in mid-poem, etc. You get the point. You can post your free-write as your final version, or clean it up — it’s up to you.

One more thing: we do ask that you include (whether in your process notes or just somewhere in your blog post) the title/artist of the song you chose.



46 thoughts on “Prompt #211 – Find the River

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  5. Here’s a poem

    Process Notes: Intriguing prompt. This is not at all the poem I intended to write, and I’ve still got another song in mind. But today, I made this instead. Definite first draft material, prompted by a hectic few weeks. Still adjusting to the contours of a newly empty nest, my children and their lives took over my rowboat for a bit. More experienced Sailor Parents tell me this is how it goes on the river: Leave them to steer their own boats. Steer your own. But sometimes, Exciting Events, Worries, or Calamities plunge you back into the parenting river for a mile or two.

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  9. Pingback: River Lyrics ~ #003 May 2014 – Haiga/Haibun for Red Wolf Poems Prompt #211 – Find the River | A 19 Planets Art Blog 2010/2014

  10. aloha Nicole. i know i dont always color inside the guidelines. . . .and this is one of those times. i also know i have to start somewhere. so this is it. here:

    with River Lyrics – or – Friendship Stones

    have fun with your river poems. aloha. rick.

      • aloha ravenswingpoetry. i’m not sure if i’m understanding this correctly. are you seeing two haibun with my response? there have been times when i have included two haibun in a post (i did that recently with NaPoWriMo). i had considered this all as one haibun. my understanding was/is?? that along with the prose there must be at least one haiku, however there can be more then one haiku as well. i may be miss-understanding that tho, so if that is the case please let me know how you see it.

        on the flip side, yes, i can see how two haibun would be cool. fun. thank you. aloha.

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