Teme

Through undulating borderlands
Beneath the shadow of the dyke,
Borrowed water slowly slips
Cradled soft in clodding clay.
Through Tenbury Wells
Ludlow, Leominster;
Deep recirculating flow of
Quiet, unhurried Teme.

 

A seeping vein, sunk
Low in storied earth,
Snaking sinuous past
Dew-soaked orchards,
Fruitful burdened boughs,
Silent stands of hops
Framed by dawn’s first light;
Through the deep country,
Thronged in songs of
Summer mist.

 

Here and there, light
Glances brightly
Wet from slipping stones,
Shelving down to green chambers;
To silent unseen kingdoms,
Realm of gill and scale, where
Pike plot turbid courses,
Making regal passage through
Weightless waving weeds.

 

An ancient eel,
Emigré of salt and spume,
Alien to moss and mud,
Assimilated now to
Gently bounding banks
Slips along the undercut;
Lithe interloper,
Bitumen skin agleam,
Dreaming of Sargasso. 

 

A moorhen strokes across
The steady interface, where
Willows shy of boundless heaven
Lean to kiss the river’s 
Open face. 
A moss-green mirror,
Drinks the brazen sky
Returning light of
Sun in high meridian
With glittering interest.

 

Along the eddy line,
Slow upwellings shadow
Unseen turbulence,
Unfurling tireless songs
Of yearning for the sea.
Along these patient bends
Time is transposed to
Gracious registers,
Harmony traversing fluidly
The seasons’ changing keys.

 

There is always time
Along the ever-shifting banks.
We are remembered here
In long-sedimented secrets,
Relics of the Civil War, lost
Beneath old Powick Bridge;
Offerings tossed in haste,
Flotsam of forgotten human fuss
Sequestered in the silent depths.

 

We are remembered here.
Crumbling banks recall when
August heat hung heavy,
Sweet algal perfume
Cut dense air,
Gnats gyrated lazily,
Carefree shouts echoed urgent
Under dappled vaults,
Where welcome coolness
Greeted unlined skin.

 

We are remembered here.
Far from quotidien chaos
From fleeting human cares.
We are remembered
In profound quiet of
Thick places, where
The languid Teme,
Hidden and unhurried;
Gives itself unceasing to
The endless unquenched sea.