Even in the shallows, the push against my calves is strong.
Pebbles, rounded by an aeon’s tumbling,
Press hard into my soles.
To be stationary in such an element
Courts punishment.

Nothing rests.
Even the alder’s dragging bough,
Only nets the wind-tossed spoils
(Debris torn from trees and litter
Whisked from trodden pathways)
For a stretch.
Weed is teased into tresses.
Everything is the current’s toy.
Locks may stall the race
But rivers never still or pond for long.
The sea is a siren’s call
To all that flows.

I think of the ice-gods,
Who, before they fled,
Carved this land for Man.
When words were few and weighty,
He threw names first to the rivers,
Boulders to blanch the water fit for sprites.
Young, fleet feet step
The naïads’ swirling tarantelle,
Spin the swelling tale
From diamond force that cuts the gorge,
To mellow progress, a leisured course
Through lush, broad plains.
Yet all stays channelled,
Bound to feed the insatiable seas,
Drawn by the salt tides’ drag.
In time, the source exhausted,
Only a thin trickle
Will limp along its barren bed.

More wonderful
Than the rivers’ line,
Is the airy cycle.
It is ordained.
Evaporation from the seas
And then the rains,
Shall feed the seams of rock
From which then seeps
Fresh water,
The source,
A cause for
Tireless dance.

Inspired by ‘Nymphs’ danced at St Paul’s Girls’ School, 29th October 2019

Poems for Artemis