What a time it was,
When beeches wept and
Seasons’ memories lay neatly banked and rusting,
Deep beneath Caermalwas Fach’s
Cathedral sheltering boughs.
It was a time
For Crow to crown the naked larch
And, silhouetted, sway. Carved carrion menace
Scanned the scene. Silent, black and brooding.
Violent, as Baskin-belched profanity was retched.
Wrenched up from devil’s deep.
No time for innocents,
Beneath the raking, piercing
Kites’ eye glare. Flexed necks, and sliding tandem,
Beat-less East. Forsaking setting sun
And waning moon for distant roost
Before November’s starlinged rush
Blurred failing dusk stained blue.
It must have been
The patient heron, standing station, still
Above the racing, now rinsed rill
Scoured clean by late October’s rains,
That hinted of their run. Not so long ago
Perhaps the day before the spitting
Distant candle glittered in the village gloom.
A flashy link to lost remembered times.
Before the photograph.
Before the fleeing weaving dipper
Wefted warping banks.
The bobbing wagtail’s flashy daffy skirts
Not grey, but flouncing vibrant hue
Of spring’s regeneration.
A second’s glimpse.
Or maybe two?
Preserves your memory.
Forearm-long, and flexing,
Strong, beneath the current’s charging
Broken rippled waves. You’re glimpsed, then gone.
Taken. As if to trick me more, not powering up
But flowing down. Resistance rocked and
Not all that’s left me.
The eye, if eye it is.
The blurry, time slurred tail.
Yet in my mind,
No thrumming line,
No arching rod. No vice-wrapped
Muddler, mouthed. Size 6.
The neck hairs stood.
The body chilled. No angler’s tale
Of one that got away, but now, at last
Beautiful poem, and photos S Xx
Thanks G, glad you liked it. Xx S.
PS Did you spot/find the fish!!
Is the dream leaper adult salmon or sea trout that you have got coming up the river? Amelia
Yes I’m pretty certain…as to which I couldn’t say definitely after the split second view I got. I’ve always seen small smudge marked fish in our stream and our neighbour says he used to spear salmon every autumn, many years ago. I’ve been seriously looking for two years now, and this is the first time I’ve seen one, hence the excitement. The stream runs into the River Cothi, and in turn the river Twyi, which is a recognised salmon/seatrout river, but as in many rivers nationally, numbers have declined massively in recent years for all sorts of reasons.
I do hope you are seeing them. I have always been amazed at the narrow places salmon will push through.
Beautiful words and photographs as usual. Thank you for sharing.
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Beautiful poem and illustrations, Julian. I think that Salmon Journey is one of the most fascinating journeys of the natural world. Everything in Nature makes so much sense. We humans make very little sense. We are strangers here. We should earn our keep.
Thanks Inese, and glad you liked it – I couldn’t agree more about your other comments – maybe that’s one of the few positives from Covid – that a few more people are taking a bit more notice of the natural world. But whether it’ll result in practical changes long term/ Who knows?