Prompt for April 3 – Virtual Barat House

Watershed

“Watershed” by Indigo Girls has been appearing a lot on my playlist lately. Someone has created a slideshow for the song on YouTube featuring natural images, including the occasional actual watershed: a ridge or other natural geological feature that determines, to be poetic about it, water’s choices. Will it flow to this river or that sea, or elsewhere entirely?

Watershed. Use the prompt to inspire your work in any form (poetry or prose; fiction of any genre; creative nonfiction, essay, or memoir).

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And because you should let the prompt “play” with anything in your “playlist,” (and because I haven’t heard of anyone having too much music or poetry), I offer the text of “Watershed” by Robert Penn Warren, credit to the Poetry Foundation’s online collection.

Watershed by Robert Penn Warren

 From this high place all things flow:
 Land of divided streams, of water spilled
 Eastward, westward without memento;
 Land where the morning mist is curled
 Like smoke about the ridgepole of the world.
 The mist is furled.

 The sunset hawk now rides
 The tall light up the climbing deep of air.
 Beneath him swings the rooftree that divides
 The east and west.  His gold eyes scan
 The crumpled shade on gorge and crest,
 And streams that creep and disappear, appear,
 Past fingered ridges and their shrivelling span.
 Under the broken eaves men take their rest.

 Forever, should they stir, their thought would keep
 This place.  Not love, happiness past, constrains,
 But certitude.  Enough, and it remains;
 Though they who thread the flood and neap
 Of earth itself have felt the earth creep,
 In pastures hung against the rustling gorge
 Have felt the shudder and the sweat of stone,
 Knowing thereby no constant moon
 Sustains the hill’s lost granite surge.