the river

blue eyes
and falling hair
into the river
that smells of acid and smoke
tears glaze the eyes like glass
sharp and painful and broken

warm chocolate skin
eyes like rich hazelnuts
into the river
that smells of acid and smoke
the cold water embraces suddenly
a news headline

nails painted
dark hairs crawling across long fingers
into the river
that smells of acid and smoke
rocks stand dumb
as the water fades to pink like a rose

worn workers hands
breath smelling like whiskey and tobacco
into the river
that smells of acid and smoke
water fills the pockets
and moves softly around silent lungs

and all is washed into the water
softly, smoothly and without any disturbance

By Alexandra Harrison


I hope you enjoyed this little poem, I’m sorry that it’s nothing special. Just a quick draft, but I hope you found meaning in it all the same. If you were confused, the poem is about a river and the people that have drowned themselves in it. It’s called ‘acid and smoke’ because the acid represents what these people have gone through and how it’s destroyed them, whilst the smoke represents how these problems are often hidden or ignored. The river is a metaphor for suicide and also how mental illness seems to be ‘clumped’ together, when in reality lots of contrasting members of society suffer, thus why I have added simple descriptions. At the end, the washing of the water, represents a cleansing of society. We ignore or romanticize suicide, to keep things more comfortable and familiar. Things will not change this way. Feel free to tell me your thoughts below.


Thank you so much for reading,


45 thoughts on “the river

  1. This is SPECIAL ! you wrote it so well and I really like your description of it because it helped me understand it more and the concept behind it is amazing . Overall a realy great poem . Well said ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful poem Alex. I found meaning in it. When I think of going into water I see it as a cleansing of the soul. Not related to sins but of all the problems, stress, difficult situations that won’t improve can be washed away in the river. Going in and out of the river is like a second rebirth. We are born with more strength to tackle our problems and stress. The river gives us a place to put all out difficulties and problems and stressors in when we walk out of the river some of those problems and difficulties are left behind in the water. Water is very powerful it keeps us alive and helps wash away bad days as warm hot showers will aid us in relieving stress. Excellent job Alex!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I can see how water can mean things like that to you. Water can be so calming and beautiful. This poem is actually about drowning and suicide, maybe because I struggle to swim so I instantly saw water in that way. But I really appreciate you taking the time to read and think about it, I would love to write about water some more. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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