Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Clattern Bridge Blues

O quick quick cats’ meat
the teasel-lined chalkstream gallops from oakwood
                                              lollops out of swallow-holes
                                              laughing over riffles
a piebald thoroughbred unseating its jockey

Reach over the nettlebed
                                         reach over burdock bracts
                                         seedheads packed like sunflowers
pluck ripe blackberries
balm your forearm stung to bits

Upstream girls cast their thoughts
                listen for the silky slosh

The chalkstream disappears reappears

Moorhen chicks stumble
parents flick tail feathers
                                        squeaking alarm
tiptoe from reeds onto stepping-stones
vanish like mumbled anecdotes
                                                   up a backwater channel

                                                   Be blue-eyed be blotto
plod like a heron from stone to stone

Sand martins torpedo into their nest-hole
                                                                  two walls painted duck-egg blue
two enriched by jewel-swirled indigo wallpaper
enclosing Bamako beats
                                        creating a home from home

O quick quick cats’ meat flows the chalkstream
               towards its confluence its end not end

Watch the heron deliberate
                                            stretch its neck tilt its head
wait wait wait for the moment
                                                 to stab and grab the dawn

                                                                                           Hear the river decelerate
          over stone over stone over woad-glaze earthenware fragments
thunder-blue water mussel-blue water the brown of caramelised pear
                                                             strobed by bulleting kingfisher
                                                             strobed by grey-wagtail yellow
                                                    into climaxing vortices under arches
                                       the clattered-over Clattern Bridge triple arch

It will never again possess such
                                                   synchronised clarities
                                                                                      of ware of water
                                                                                      of stone of summer
                                                                                      of murmur
                                                                                      of memory

O quick quick cats’ meat goes the chalkstream

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