Meredith’s Sweet-Aired Eden

An October day 2004 after purchasing George Meredith’s Selected Poems 1898,
fishing by the house where he lived, perhaps at the spot where he wrote them!
Pic.: of River Mole, Box Hill, no ©


As the Mole at Box Hill
gurgles leisurely past stepping stones,
and drowsy chub and perch rise on
a day bathed in sunshine,
is there better relaxation than to lie
in receding reeds,
squinting attentively at dappling glitter,
tracking a red dot
rhythmically bobbing?
A bite……. perhaps;
for small mistrals,
dipping and twitching tapered rod,
will tease strained eyes, as nylon,
looping with downstream drag,
hauls spiked maggot past
minnow and gudgeon,
on over silted mire.
Opening poetry in musty leather,
…..smelling of homes visited
after death,
soothed by tinkling bubbles and
wind rustling in quivering reeds,
soon merge into one awareness….
             Sweet as Eden is the air
             And Eden-sweet the ray.
             No Paradise is lost for them
Instinct alerts
unfocused eyes to spotless flow;
striking with clumsy haste,
water rat dives with resounding “plop”,
showing open contempt for careless miss;
active, no longer one with Nature,
flustered robin too,
signals regret, for risky trust, but
wriggling maggots round seething tin,
tempt him to stay awhile.
Lulled back in restful repose,
body sneaks off anew….
             ….Who foot by branching root and stem
             And lightly with the woodland share
             The change of night and day….
Slowly awakening, to cream moon
dappled silver in jet black swells in
rapidly darkening dusk.
How late the hour….noisy nocturnal forms
on chalky upland slopes want someone
up and gone!
Swirling night-black water, pulling
with evil intent,
seemingly to enclose this
violator of some timeless curfew,
now hurrying nervously on,
lead shot rattling, wellies snapping,
comforted only by orange glow of
distant car park lamp…..
feeling compelled
to look back momentarily…
at boxwood stump……or,
grey-bearded man recumbent
in flattened reeds,
impishly grinning…….?
…..granite squares race sideways underfoot
stepping across to alight far bank
where river starts to flow again
Meredith’s sweet-aired Eden.


© Gothicman 2023
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