Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Flood

File:Ma Yuan - Water Album - The Waving Surface of the Autumn Flood.jpg
The Waving Surface of the Autumn FloodMa Yuan - Water Album - circa 1160

“I wish I hadn't cried so much!" said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. "I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears!” 
― Lewis Carroll

“Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, 
which is one of the oldest subjects of art.” 
― Susan Sontag

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” 
― Fred Rogers

Monsoon in India 2017
Monsoon in India 2017
(So many have lost everything and died in floods, I found it hard to choose a picture.)

Midweek Motif ~ Flood

Flood in metaphor is often a positive, delightful gift and surprise; whereas flood in reality is often devastating, especially when disaster preparation is missing.  When the idea of flooding enters poets' hearts, when we are flooded with it, we are prepared with the tools of capture and taming even if we are overwhelmed.  So where to begin today? With an actual flood and its stories?  Or with the concept overpowering the will?  You decide.

Your challenge:  
Write a new poem with a flood motif 
and post it below.

by Billy Collins

I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.

After falling off a steamship or being swept away
in a rush of floodwaters, wouldn't you hope
for a more leisurely review, an invisible hand
turning the pages of an album of photographs-
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hat.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

by Robert Frost
Blood has been harder to dam back than water.
Just when we think we have it impounded safe 
Behind new barrier walls (and let it chafe!),
It breaks away in some new kind of slaughter.
We choose to say it is let loose by the devil;
But power of blood itself releases blood.
It goes by might of being such a flood
Held high at so unnatural a level.
It will have outlet, brave and not so brave.
weapons of war and implements of peace
Are but the points at which it finds release.
And now it is once more the tidal wave
That when it has swept by leaves summits stained.
Oh, blood will out. It cannot be contained.

The canyon walls close in again,
slant light a silver glare in brown water.
The water is only knee deep, but when the boy reaches the
purple dark, silvered by the smash of brute water—
water will tear at his chest and arms.
The walls of the canyon are brilliant in late light.
They would have glared red and gold for his drowned camera:
splashed blood to his left, to his right a wall of sun laddered
   with boulders.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

A Story of Holland
 . . . . 
But where was the child delaying? 
      On the homeward way was he, 
And across the dike while the sun was up 
      An hour above the sea. 
He was stopping now to gather flowers, 
      Now listening to the sound, 
As the angry waters dashed themselves 
      Against their narrow bound. 
“Ah! well for us,” said Peter, 
      “That the gates are good and strong, 
And my father tends them carefully, 
      Or they would not hold you long! 
You ’re a wicked sea,” said Peter; 
      “I know why you fret and chafe; 
You would like to spoil our lands and homes; 
      But our sluices keep you safe!” 

But hark! Through the noise of waters 
      Comes a low, clear, trickling sound; 
And the child’s face pales with terror, 
      And his blossoms drop to the ground. 
He is up the bank in a moment, 
      And, stealing through the sand, 
He sees a stream not yet so large 
      As his slender, childish hand. 
’T is a leak in the dike! He is but a boy, 
      Unused to fearful scenes; 
But, young as he is, he has learned to know 
      The dreadful thing that means. 
A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart 
      Grows faint that cry to hear, 
And the bravest man in all the land 
      Turns white with mortal fear. 
For he knows the smallest leak may grow 
      To a flood in a single night; 
And he knows the strength of the cruel sea 
      When loosed in its angry might. 
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)


Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and 
visit others in the spirit of the community—

Next week Sumana's Midweek Motif will be "Nature: Her Words."


  1. So many things a poet can do with this prompt! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for another midweek jolt!

  3. Ahhh! Good morning, Poets United. I am looking forward to your poems today. Here in the USA, we've been flooded with bad news and people in the streets--and in some parts of the world, floods are way too real. Let's enjoy some respite and some powerful expression in our art of poetry. And those of us who pray, we could use your spiritual attention. Thank you.

  4. Good Morning, reports of bad behaving weather patterns our muses today must be weeping


  5. Just posted one for the flood. Have a great 'hump' day.

  6. Reminder: No one need use the word "flood," but the theme should be woven through you poem like a motif in music. It's wonderful to read the variety of poetry and perspective when we follow the prompt to where it takes us.

  7. At present I'm out of my hometown and just heard from my neighbors that flood water's entered my home. It's already quite late here. I'll try to post something if I can tomorrow. Feeling frustrated.

    1. Oh, gosh. I wish today's prompt was about mountain climbing. May all be well, or better than you expect.

    2. Oh I am so sorry, Sumana....what a tragedy.

  8. So sorry, Sumana. It must be hard to be away from home right now.

  9. Nice to see you, Salem. I am away from home, using my tablet. Not great with copying and pasting. Hope my link takes you to Floods.

  10. Excellent prompt, Susan! I do look forward to seeing what others have written.

  11. Love this prompt Susan! I look forward to visiting everyone's blog. :-)

  12. Loved the prompt, Susan! It took me in a completely unexpected direction. Sharing my poem Untitled (amid the flood and stars).. will be back in the morning to read and comment. Its been a long and hard day.

    Lots of love,

    1. Rest, dear poet. See you tomorrow or the next day.

  13. Thanks for the FLOOD of good reads, everyone.

    1. It has been that! Actual floods devastating homes in India and elsewhere, and a day of a flood of vigils and words about the visibility of nazi actions in the USA! An amazing day. End it with a gentle sleep if you can.

  14. I'm not surprised at the subject, Sumana, after seeing your posts on Facebook. Again, I'm so sorry about the flood affecting you. I'm thinking of you.

    I was pleased that I could write with everyone this week! I'll be around to read before the weekend.

    Missed you all! I'm looking forward to the eclipse here in CA. I'm going to be out on my bike when it happens. We will have 70% (may not be correct) or a pretty nice partial here which I'm so excited about.

    Group hug PU!

    1. Thanks Bekkie. Today's Midweek Motif has been prepared by Susan.

    2. Thanks for the group hug! See you after the eclipse.

  15. Replies
    1. Good to see you here, Sumana, when you've had such disturbing new. I finally looked up your town on the map and got a sense of your home. Praying for the neighborhood.

  16. Great prompt and so many great poems. I had to laugh when I read A story of Holland. made me think of the story of the boy who puts his finger in the dike. i had never heard the story but when in NZ the children here told me the story

    1. It is one and the same ... It's actually quite an epic poem. Good to see you today, Marja.

  17. Loved to write my maiden sonnet about 'The Flood' :)
    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Have a great weekend :)


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