Black River, White Sand

painting of the Blackwater River on a piano ivory keytop headThe water quickly snakes
throughout wooded land;
such a contrast—
black river,
white sand.
How the
tannins there
could steep to stain
water to appear
as dark as tea, and yet
the sandy floor remains
unchanged, its brightness
shimmering in
the sunlight
like pearls.

Written for d’Verse Poetics: On Geography. Today’s poem is both an Okaloosa (described below) and a Quadrille. Yes, I wrote a Quadrille for Poetics, since geography rang my bell a little louder than this week’s Quadrille prompt. 🙂

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote the first stanza of this poem, intending it as a stand-alone poem. I had also painted a picture of the Blackwater River, and the poem went along with the painting. (That painting, by the way, was done on an ivory keytop head from off an old piano. It’s less than 1 inch by 2 inches, very small.)

Today, when I saw the geography prompt, my mind immediately went to the Blackwater River and this poem. I temporarily forgot this wasn’t a Quadrille challenge, and seeing my poem only had 14 words, I decided to make it a bit longer. So I added two more stanzas, choosing my words carefully so that the word count would satisfy the Quadrille requirement while the syllable count satisfied the Okaloosa guidelines. On paper, I’m able to stagger the left margin to make the poem appear to “snake” across the page the way a river snakes through the land, but my WP settings will not allow that here.

created by Abigail Gronway on March 29, 2018
The name comes from the Choctaw word meaning “black water” and refers to the Blackwater River which originates in Alabama and flows through the Santa Rosa and Walton counties of Florida.
Stanzaic: any number of quintet syllabic stanzas, where the even stanzas are reversed. The visual effect produces a snaking “black river” on the white page.
Rhyme is optional.
Syllabic structure: 6-5-4-3-2, 2-3-4-5-6, etc.
No breaks between stanzas
May be centered or not
If you really want to get creative, you may move the lines around on the page to simulate the way a river runs through the land.
May be written on any theme, but it should evoke feelings of tranquility, and the thoughts must flow like water.


Copyright © 2019 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


14 Replies to “Black River, White Sand”

    1. Thank you. I must read yours. I’ll go read it now. I wanted to read them all, but haven’t made it through even half the list yet. I’m dealing with mono, of all things, and my energy plummets quite quickly these days. I’ve already had two naps today. :/


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