The River

The River by Valerie Bloom

The river’s a wanderer, a nomad, a tramp.
He doesn't choose any one place to set up his camp.

The river’s a winder, through valley and hill.
He twists and he turns, he just cannot be still.

The river’s a hoarder and he buries down deep
Those little treasures that he wants to keep.

The river’s a baby, he gurgles and hums
And sounds like he’s happily sucking his thumbs.

The river’s a singer, as he dances along
The countryside echoes the notes of his song.

The river’s a monster, hungry and vexed
He’s gobbled up trees and he’ll swallow you next.

Poet’s biography:

Valerie Bloom was born in 1956 in Jamaica, and she came to England in 1979. Now she travels around United Kingdom and abroad. Her poems is mostly known through her books—her own poems and anthologies she has edited. She also come out with a novels, and her poems had been printed in over 250 anthologies.

Poem analysis:

Subject: This poem is about the poet’s appreciation and perception of a river. The river in this poem is always written with capital letter as it is a proper name.

Theme: The River is beautiful, but capable of causing destruction.

This poem is delivered in an admiring and fearful tone, as the river have the potential to be good or bad and humans have no capability of controlling it. A lot of metaphors are being used along with personification in this poem, such as in the line “The River is a wanderer”.

Stanza 1:

The poet perceives the River as a living thing; in this stanza as a wanderer, a nomad, and a tramp, and it never makes a stop.

Stanza 2:

The River will never stop. Not even when there are obstacles in front of it, it will twists and turns and makes its way through valley and hills.

Stanza 3:

The poet perceives the River as a hoarder; which take and keep anything that it wants in the riverbed.

Stanza 4:

The River is being perceived as a baby. By saying that “he gurgles and hums”, the poet makes it clear that the river is happy; but nevertheless, as the River is a baby, it is unpredictable.

Stanza 5:

In this stanza, the poet perceives the River as a singer and a dancer, and she added that the countryside echoes with the notes of “his” song. This might shows that the River promised people with life.

Stanza 6:

In this last stanza, the River is being perceived as a monster—a hungry and vexed monster. The poet warned that “he” gobbled up trees and he will eventually swallow people, too. This shows the sheer destructive power the River has.


tramp (/træmp/)

 a person with no home, job or money who travels around and asks for money from other people

winder (/ˈwaɪn.dər/)

if a road, path or river winds, it follows a route which turns repeatedly in different directions

hoarder (hɔːrd)

to collect large amounts of something and keep it in a safe, often secret, place

vexed (/vekst/)

difficult to deal with and causing a lot of disagreement and argument


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