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The River's Story

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by

Daniel Edmonds

on 20 June 2013

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Transcript of The River's Story

The River's Story
By Brian Patten
I remember when life was good.
I shilly-shallied across meadows,
Tumbled down mountains,
I laughed and gurgled through woods,
Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods.
Insects, weightless as sunbeams,
Settled upon my skin to drink.
I wore lily-pads like medals.
Fish, lazy and battle scarred,
Gossiped beneath them.
The damselflies were my ballerinas,
The pike my ambassadors.
Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows,
Were my secret agents.
It was a sweet time, a gone-time,
A time before factories grew,
Brick by greedy brick,
And left me cowering,
In monstrous shadows.
Like drunken giants,
They vomited their poisons into me.
Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells,
Dwarfed by those same poisons,
Toll my ending.

Children, come and find me if you wish,
I am your inheritance.
Behind the derelict housing-estates,
You will discover my remnants.
Clogged with garbage and junk,
To an open sewer I’ve shrunk.
I, who have flowed through history,
Who have seen hamlets become villages,
Villages become towns, towns become cities,
Am reduced to a trickle of filth,
Beneath the still, burning stars
I remember when life was good.
I shilly-shallied across meadows,
Tumbled down mountains,
I laughed and gurgled through woods,
Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods.
Who is the speaker in the poem? (Who is telling the story?)
shilly-shallied
What stands out on this line?
What is this an example of?
What does this line suggest about the river?
What is this line a good example of?
What is the effect?
Insects, weightless as sunbeams,
Settled upon my skin to drink.
I wore lily-pads like medals.
Fish, lazy and battle scarred,
Gossiped beneath them.
The damselflies were my ballerinas,
The pike my ambassadors.
Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows,
Were my secret agents.
Write down or highlight two similes from this part of the poem.
What is the effect of these similes? Why has the poet used them?
Write down or highlight two metaphors.
What do they suggest?
It was a sweet time, a gone-time,
A time before factories grew,
Brick by greedy brick,
And left me cowering,
In monstrous shadows.
Like drunken giants,
They vomited their poisons into me.
Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells,
Dwarfed by those same poisons,
Toll my ending.
What does this sinmile suggest?
What does the word 'vagrant' suggest?
Vagrant: A person without a home or job.
What is happening to the river in this part of the poem?
What is the mood of the poem at this point?
Who is to blame?
Children, come and find me if you wish,
I am your inheritance.
Behind the derelict housing-estates,
You will discover my remnants.
Clogged with garbage and junk,
To an open sewer I’ve shrunk.
I, who have flowed through history,
Who have seen hamlets become villages,
Villages become towns, towns become cities,
Am reduced to a trickle of filth,
Beneath the still, burning stars
Who is the River speaking to? Why?
What is meant by this line?
What is the mood at the end of the poem?
What has happened to the River?
What could this line mean?
Full transcript