View From the Old Dee Bridge

How peaceful and pleasing the white sound of the weir,
the levelled river rushed to gleam and chatter.
The heron here, standing soldier-still,
sees no river at all, only a play of light,
sees with its beak the silver flicker, strikes.

No river, only drama; no river, but weather
in the watershed, the sky-scoured hills.
No river but earth-cradled element,
bird-pierced and paddle-fondled, purfled by trees.
No river, but congealed rain that the weir
pours out as thin drops in free fall again.
No river – time’s trick of making the moment’s
cross-section of water’s journey seem real.

The cormorant tips its hooked head to look through
time’s literalism, and dives in deep.
Look! Here’s the washed blood of Jesus Christ,
an unfallen essence of destiny.
Here’s Zhuangzi’s own piss, never lacking wit;
here’s the moistness of Gotama’s last breath.
Look at this scar of primal violence,
wetness crash-landed on a burning rock,
five billion years ago. Become Life’s breast,
the actual source of her ever-welling-ness.

Standing on the Old Dee Bridge, the poet
listens to the river’s undersong. It resists
its history. It is the ever-refreshed
eternal re-becoming, whose bliss it is
to split and brush the red medieval piers,
to flow beneath the arches, in momentary dark,
and hear its own strong echoes, reflected.

Posted: Mon 6 Jul, 2020