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Famous Running Water Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Running Water poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous running water poems. These examples illustrate what a famous running water poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Nicolson, Adela Florence Cory
...nother spring, and other flowers,
        Hung, pink and fragile, on the leafless tree,
   The land rejoiced in other running water,
        And I rejoiced, because you were with me.

   You, with your soft eyes, darkly lashed and shaded,
        Your red lips like a living, laughing rose,
   Your restless, amber limbs so lithe and slender
        Now lost to me.  Gone whither no man knows.

   You lay beside me singing in the sunshine;
        The rough, white fur...Read More



by Nemerov, Howard
...can see certain simplicities
In the darkening rust and tarnish of the time,
And say over the certain simplicities,
The running water and the standing stone,
The yellow haze of the willow and the black
Smoke of the elm, the silver, silent light
Where suddenly, readying toward nightfall,
The sumac's candelabrum darkly flames.
And I speak to you now with the land's voice,
It is the cold, wild land that says to you
A knowledge glimmers in the sleep of things:
The old hills h...Read More

by Lawrence, D. H.
...ter for a moment, oh the beast is quick and keen,
Extinct one yellow-fluffy spark. 

Once I had a lover bright like running water, 
Once his face was laughing like the sky; 
Open like the sky looking down in all its laughter 
On the buttercups, and the buttercups was I.

What, then, is there hidden in the skirts of all the blossom?
What is peeping from your wings, oh mother hen? 
’Tis the sun who asks the question, in a lovely haste for wisdom;
What a lovely haste for...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...e
the cry here is wing to wing
and song to song—

 I am waiting,
waiting with the flame flamingo,
the spotted hawk, the running water
warbler—
 waiting for you....Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...ing came and fanned
His hot flushed cheeks, or lifted wantonly
The tangled curls from off his forehead, while
He on the running water gazed with strange and secret smile.

And soon the shepherd in rough woollen cloak
With his long crook undid the wattled cotes,
And from the stack a thin blue wreath of smoke
Curled through the air across the ripening oats,
And on the hill the yellow house-dog bayed
As through the crisp and rustling fern the heavy cattle strayed.

And w...Read More



by Sandburg, Carl
...The young child, Christ, is straight and wise
And asks questions of the old men, questions
Found under running water for all children
And found under shadows thrown on still waters
By tall trees looking downward, old and gnarled.
Found to the eyes of children alone, untold,
Singing a low song in the loneliness.
And the young child, Christ, goes on asking
And the old men answer nothing and only know love
For the young child. Christ, straight and wi...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...Body—I look on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I notice not; 
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors morbific impress me; 
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that delicate fair house—that ruin!

That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built! 
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmounted—or all the old
 high-spired
 cathedrals;
That little house alone, more than them all—poor, ...Read More

by Khayyam, Omar
...Let not base avarice enslave thy mind,
Nor vain ambition in its trammels bind;
Be sharp as fire, as running water swift,
Not, like earth's dust, the sport of every wind!...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...ten hours the Greeks
 stand in leather shoes shoveling gravel.
Now they hold their toes and ankles
 to the drift of running water.
Then they go to the bunk cars
 and eat mulligan and prune sauce,
Smoke one or two pipefuls, look at the stars,
 tell smutty stories
About men and women they have known,
 countries they have seen,
Railroads they have built—
 and then the deep sleep of children....Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...r>
I nourished the lonely men on horses.
I will keep the laughing men who ride iron.
I am dust of men.

The running water babbled to the deer, the cottontail, the gopher.
You came in wagons, making streets and schools,
Kin of the ax and rifle, kin of the plow and horse,
Singing Yankee Doodle, Old Dan Tucker, Turkey in the Straw,
You in the coonskin cap at a log house door hearing a lone wolf howl,
You at a sod house door reading the blizzards and chinooks let ...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...CHATTER of birds two by two raises a night song joining a litany of running water—sheer waters showing the russet of old stones remembering many rains.

And the long willows drowse on the shoulders of the running water, and sleep from much music; joined songs of day-end, feathery throats and stony waters, in a choir chanting new psalms.

It is too much for the long willows when low laughter of a red moon comes down; ...Read More

by Wylie, Elinor
...ther's hand forced him to stand, 
The traffic thundered slaughter; 
One foot he thrust in the whirling dust 
As it were running water.

As in a dream I saw the stream 
Scatter in drops that glistened; 
They flamed, they flashed, his brow they splashed, 
And danger's son was christened.

The portent passed; his fate was cast, 
Sea-farer, desert-ranger. 
Tearless I smiled on that fearless child 
Dipping his foot in Danger....Read More

by Nwakanma, Obi
...e forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...are heard afar.
No solace on the lazy shore excels
The Duke's blue castle with its steamer-bells.
The floor is running water, and the roof
The stars' brocade with cloudy warp and woof.

And on past sorghum fields the current swings.
To Christian Jim the Mississippi sings.
This prankish wave-swept barque has won its place,
A ship of jesting for the human race.
But do you laugh when Jim bows down forlorn
His babe, his deaf Elizabeth to mourn?
And do you...Read More

by McGonagall, William Topaz
..., he sat down on the first stone he saw. 

And there resting his elbows and head on his knees,
He sat gazing at the running water, which did him please;
And by the light of the stars which shone on the water blue,
He cried, I will drown myself, and bid this harsh world adieu. 

Besides, I'm good for nothing, to himself he said,
And will only become a burden to my mother, I'm afraid
And there, at the bottom of that water, said he,
From all my misfortunes death will set...Read More

by Teasdale, Sara
...llo dreaming on her height;
I have remembered music in the dark,
 The clean swift brightness of a fugue of Bach's,
 And running water singing on the rocks
When once in English woods I heard a lark.

But all remembered beauty is no more
 Than a vague prelude to the thought of you --
 You are the rarest soul I ever knew,
 Lover of beauty, knightliest and best;
My thoughts seek you as waves that seek the shore,
 And when I think of you, I am at rest....Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...Gloomy and dark art thou, O chief of the mighty Omahas;
Gloomy and dark as the driving cloud, whose name thou hast taken!
Wrapt in thy scarlet blanket, I see thee stalk through the city's
Narrow and populous streets, as once by the margin of rivers
Stalked those birds unknown, that have left us only their
footprints.
What, in a few short years, will re...Read More

by Nicolson, Adela Florence Cory
...r,
   While life was only River,
         Only love, and you and I.

   Love wakened on the River,
   To sounds of running water,
   With silver Stars for witness
         And reflected Stars for light;
   Awakened to existence,
   With ripples for first music
   And sunlight on the River
         For earliest sense of sight.

   Love grew upon the River
   Among the scented flowers,
   The open rosy flowers
         Of the Lotus buds in bloom—
   Love, brill...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...diamonds, dung and permanganese, and all clover and bumblebees, all bluegrass, johnny-jump-ups, grassroots, springs of running water or rivers or lakes or high spreading trees or hazel bushes or sumach or thorn-apple branches or high in the air the bird nest with spotted blue eggs shaken in the roaming wind of the treetops—

So it is scrawled here,
“I direct and devise
So and so and such and such,”
And this is the last word.
There is nothing more to it.

In a shanty ...Read More

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