Pine scent rises on this high dry knoll, below
water captured from the river eases its way north.
It is lured north by a stone groyne and the water
tamed by a gorge runs into concrete chambers to flow
around hills, under rivers, to come out here,
where the ground swells and dips and the water
in little surges gurgles as it passes bridge piles.
There are sand traps and eddies and fish,
and a concrete structure that lets the water
from another river drop into that from the first:
blended, they head for yet another river, to escape.
It is a journey in a journey, a walk along dry grass,
through glade, past rusting hulks of once-great
machines, whose innards are bleached by the sun.
Beyond the concrete sluices are cambered high
walls to deflect a river’s fury, and the water
is forced over low spillways to absorb its force,
and there is a great hole created by water’s flow
where salmon used to circle in slack water,
gathering strength for one last leap to death.
All along its languid length is the work of man:
neat fields, shining stock, belted galloways,
herefords and corriedales, and they stamp
and shy then put their heads down to graze until
they sag at the knees, crumple with a thud
and then the ground shakes and ducks rise in a skein
[This after a walk to the siphon on the South Ashburton River, under which the flows the Rangitata Diversion Race. It takes water from the Rangitata to the Rakaia and is topped up, if flows allow, by water from the South Ashburton]