EM3050 Activity: Poems and Word Play


Write a poem or song or story about the things you love about being around, in, or near water. 

Journal, paper, computer
Something to write with -- pen, pencil, etc.
Words from Activity #4 -- Water Steward


Using words from visiting the water and making note of all the sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of a water habitat, write a poem or song. Long or short. Be descriptive. What words best capture your experience and feelings? 

Don’t worry about rhyming, but try to find some rhythm in your words. Draw a picture to accompany your poem.

For some fun water science poems and ideas to get started writing, check out Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s website. She says “What is mysterious to you? The things we find amazing and mysterious are often fantastic writing topics.”

Here are a few of our favorite water poems:

In the Water-World, by Evaleen Stein 

Down among the water-weeds,
    Darting through the grass,
Round about the tasseled reeds,
    See the minnows pass!
See the little turtles there,
    Hiding, half asleep,
Tucked in tangled mosses where
     tiny crayfish creep!

Watch the trailing grasses string
    Strands of purple shells
That the lazy ripples ring,
    Sweet as silver bells;
Watch the sunshine sift and drift
    Down the eddy whirls,
Whence the laden whiteweeds lift
     Loads of blossom pearls;

While the limpid shadows slip
    Softly in between,
And the pussy-willows dip    
    Lightly in the green
Of the mocking trees that grow
    Down the water-sky,
Flecked with fleecy clouds that blow
    Where the reed-birds fly.

Oh, such marvels manifold
    Fill the summer stream,
Such enticing things untold
    Through the ripples gleam,
If you could a moment turn
    Into what you wish,
Would it not be fun to be
    Yonder little fish?

Going for Water by Robert Frost

The well was dry beside the door,
    And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
    To seek the brook if still it ran;

Not loth to have excuse to go,
    Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill), because the fields were ours,
    And by the brook our woods were there.

We ran as if to meet the moon
    That slowly dawned behind the trees,
The barren boughs without the leaves,
    Without the birds, without the breeze.

But once within the wood, we paused
    Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
    With laughter when she found us soon.

Each laid on other a staying hand
    To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
    We heard, we knew we heard the brook.

A note as from a single place,
    A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
    Like pearls, and now a silver blade.

Prairie Waters by Night by Carl Sandburg

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; and the willows
drowse and sleep on the shoulders of the running water.

Water by Jim Harrison

Before I was born I was water.
I thought of this sitting on a blue
chair surrounded by pink, red, white
hollyhocks in the yard in front
of my green studio. There are conclusions
to be drawn but I can’t do it anymore.
Born man, child man, singing man,
dancing man, loving man, old man,
dying man. This is a round river
and we are her fish who become water.

Rain by Mary Oliver

All afternoon it rained, then
such power came down from the clouds
on a yellow thread,
as authoritative as God is supposed to be.
When it hit the tree, her body
opened forever.

Thank you Doug Williams for these delightful readings of Water and Rain. See more of Doug's work here.

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