Trails of the River Bank
A new poem
The river is not moving this morning.
It’s stillness matching the air above.
The polished surface interrupted by ripples
from fish burps and insects daring a drink.
Somewhere a distant sluice gate must be closed.
We take the bike path towards the red bridge.
It’s too early for wheeled ghosts to surprise us
or joggers to worry us with their sweaty slipstream.
She digs her nose deep into tufts of grass, hoping.
Today she finds no crusts that escaped the beaks.
Ahead a pair of Mallards take a stroll, the drake’s
purple head turned our way in beady lookout.
They choose water as the better part of valour.
On the opposite bank a Heron waits for mistakes.
A grey statue more adept than any street entertainer.
Around the bend Coots fight over water rights
while a mother duck shepherds her brood of fluff.
Numbers are down to six from ten yesterday.
Soon Grebes will be performing choreography,
but for the moment they’re invisibly corralling fish.
We turn for home on a path beside a polder drain
greeted by tiny sunflower-faced celandine
taking in the sunshine before greedy knotweed
and sycamore leaves steal every square metre.
Circle completed, we’re ready for tea and dog biscuits.