The River…

Has pinned its mirror to the meadow
And lies wide open to the sun’s attack,

Dazzlebombs exploding from its shield.


Water is an occupying force,

Invading neighbouring fields.  It came up quick,

As always after heavy rain, and we


Awoke to find the alder trees waist-deep

In surplus river.  In the aftermath we see

How it has redefined its living-space,


Redecorated, carved new coves and harbours,

Low secluded beaches of smooth silt –

Always some project on the go, some mini-


Masterpiece of bold landscape design

(Lately it’s been creeping slyly round

The back of this old willow – to begin


The island it will finish years later.)

The long walls of its winding gallery

Are covered in Baroque creations: mud


And timber – the sculpted body parts of trees.

Gathering flood-wood for the fire, I feel

Like an art-thief.  But the river will forgive


This small transgression – summer will restore

Its equanimity, its little song

(A naiad nestling in the shell of my ear.)



© Anthony Watts


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