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River Ouse, Rodmell, 1941

The first she prises out, clenched in bindweed:
reluctance adds to its appeal.

And there: not so large as to burst pockets,
several flints conspire

their surfaces glass-perfect, all the better
to slip in without fuss.

From mud, she frees a stump of the fat chalk Down
walked each day, as worn

as the worsted that parcels up her reedy body
ready for anchoring.

Pebbles lean into her, take us they say, take us,
the floods are coming

but like Noah she must leave some behind,
the unbelievers.

 

(first published in Agenda Vol 46 No. 2, Sept 2011)

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