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River Diary

Autumn

Kingfisher

Electric - blue - shock
Flying at full pelt, parting
The ordinary.

 

Reflections

Today your surface
Is a mirror - where the sky
Bends to see itself.

 

Life and Death

This year's roach flicker
Among weeds - oblivious
To the waiting pike.

 

Autumn

Wind blows over you
And the willow's reflection
Breaks into pieces.

 

Regal

Behind this morning's
Mallard - its sparkling wake spreads
Wider and wider.

 

Awash

Today's flood water -
Where the alders wade knee-deep
Dipping their branches.

 

October

Suddenly this month's
Low sunlight bounces off you
And becomes dazzling.

 

Grey Wagtail

Arrives nervously
Flickering and bobbing and
Then is off again.

 

Stillness

Today everything
Is becalmed - even your water
Seems hardly moving.

 

Mirror

Above is a swan;
Below is another swan.
But which is real?

 

November

Today your iron-
Grey surface barely reflects
The iron-grey sky.

 

Fall

In your dark mirror
The last yellow chestnut leaves
Shimmer into flame.

 

Blow

In today's gale
The flying willow branches
Flail your surface.

 

Evanescent

In today's mirror
The black-headed gull's shadow
Passes and is gone.

 

Transformation

On the mallard's back
Your water turns to molten
Metal and runs off.

 

Deep

Swollen by last night's
Rain, your water has become
Unfathomable.

 

Touch-Down

In your mirror, the
Falling sycamore leaf meets
Its own reflection.

Metamorphosis

Falling willow leaves -
And your dark surface turns
Slowly to yellow.

 

Landing

Sudden whoosh of wings -
And the incoming swan skis
To an awkward stop.

 

Peace

Under your bank a
Mallard sleeps with its head tucked
Back invisibly.

 

21st November

In your rain-speckled
Glass - the leafless sycamore
Extends its fingers.

 

King of the Birds

Deep under your bank
The invisible wren sounds
Its agitation.

 

Winter

December 5th

Today (after a
Week of green gloom) your mirror
Suddenly opens
And the yellow-leaved willow
Becomes a golden fountain.

 

Downpour

On your grey surface
The countless raindrops' ripples
Expand and collide.

 

December 16th

Today the leafless
Willow runs its fingers through
Your ice-cold water.

 

Year's End

Suddenly, out of
The gloom, three white swans appear
And push on upstream.

 

Squadron

Above you - in mid
Air - five mallards bank over
And break formation.

 

Perching

Suddenly the blue
Blur becomes a kingfisher -
Stock-still on a branch.

 

Spate

Today your water
Is a jostling crowd - pushing
Through the bridge arches.

 

White-Out

Between snow covered
Banks your steel-grey water
Becomes lit silver.

 

February 27th

Over you today
A snow-lit, grey-black ghost-light
Hovers hauntingly.

 

Thoughtful

Today you seem far
Off - sunk deep into your banks
With your mirror closed.

 

Spring

Spring

Onto your glass the
First daffodil of the year
Casts its reflection.

 

March 17th

Spring sunlight and an
Early butterfly flickers
Across your mirror.

 

Fly Past

High above you, two
Synchronised swans pass over
Whooshing and whooping.

 

April

Into your glass the
Willow waterfall cascades
Its greens and yellows.

 

Spawn

This morning, shoals of
Inch-long roach break your surface
Like raindrop's ripples.

 

Brood

Today, the mallard's
Eleven ducklings skitter
Across your surface.

 

Feeding

From your green depths dace
Rise - flickering and swirling
Into May sunlight.

 

Pair

Today two moorhens
Cross and re-cross your current;
Heads nodding gently.

Trim

Today, clumps of cow
Parsley (cut back by the white
Suited strimmer-man)
Fall onto your surface and
Are carried away downstream.

 

Unexpected

Under your far bank
The submerged, ghost-grey bream shoal
Suddenly roll out
Onto your surface; their flat
Bronze sides flashing in sunlight.

 

May 5th

After last night's storm
Your surface is a shipwreck
Of leaves and branches.

 

Chill

Cold May wind, and a
Moorhen (with a nest twig in
Its beak) crosses you.

 

May 28th

In the riverside
Car park today, a sudden
Unseasonable

Hail storm sets off
Two car alarms: blaring and
Bleating and flashing.

 

 

Summer

Noon

Over you today
A swirling gnat-cloud pulsates
Hypnotically.

 

Glint, Glitter, Gleam

Suddenly your wind
Blown ripples are glass crystals
Sparkling in sunlight.

 

May 31st

Today the male
Mallard's blue-green head shimmers
Phosphorescently.

 

June 3rd

This morning, the white
Wind-blown horse chestnut blossom
Covers your surface.

 

Demoiselle Agrion

Over you today
The dazzling blue damselflies
Flitter and flutter.

Emperor

Suddenly the large
Blue dragonfly buzzes off
Over the willows.

 

Upriver

Above you today
The visiting tern performs
Its aerobatics.

 

Yellow

Midsummer day, and
The floating lily flowers
Open their cupped hands.

 

Litter

In today's eddy,
Empty plastic Coke bottles
Rotate and collide.

 

Huge

Today your mirror
Reflects the giant hogweed's
Massive flower-head.

 

June 24th

Clinging to your bank -
The wild raspberry bush
Bears its tiny fruits.

 

July 2nd

In today's pool the
Shock wave from an unseen fish
Wobbles your mirror.

 

High Summer

Across your surface
This morning, a spiralling
Solar system of
Pollen and dust gravitates
Imperceptibly downstream.

 

Building Site

Summer heat, and the
Crane's concrete counter-balance
Wobbles in your glass.

 

 

July 4th

Suddenly, stillness
Shattered by the silent fish
Rising in your pool.

 

Adaptation

Today the spinning
Sycamore seeds crash gently
Onto your surface.

 

July 12th

High water, and the
Hanging buddleia flowers
Touch their reflections.

 

Parked Car

In your glass today
The Vauxhall's turquoise bonnet
Oscillates gently.

 

Heady

After today's rain,
The bank-side buddleia flowers
Exhale their scent.

 

Coda

One foot above you,
The kingfisher's firework
Flashes and is gone.

 

   
 
 

 

 

 

 

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