Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: The River God

Is an old god.
Wet feet, dripping beard.
Forgotten guardian.

Has not been worshipped in a long time.
Centuries have passed
As he slept below the currents.

His river has been re-routed
Powered waterwheels
Slaked the thirst of industry.

Is tired.
A stranger here.

Has no role in this world.
Eroded out of significance.
The last of his brothers.

His name is a riddle
Mystery in six syllables.

Is thin, ravenous,
Hungers for prayers,
For granite filtered rain.

Has swallowed the tributaries.
Stands fast in brackish water,
Against the encroaching sea

His channel runs dry
At least one day a year.
Evaporated in the heatwaves.

Does not recognise my devotion.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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R S Kendle

R S Kendle is a poet and writer from the north-east of Scotland. They hold a BA Honours in English Literature and Politics from the University Of Strathclyde. Their work has been featured in several publications, including Feminist Space Camp, Free Verse Revolution, and The Winged Moon. They are also an editor for Mxogyny's digital site.


A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.

Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."

Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."

Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2023 playlist