Across the waving green and yellow flecks of broom,
beyond the truculent popping lupin,
we saw someone – something – had shifted the river.
It ran, now, between pushed-up shingle,
still chattering, still over stone,
but its character had been bulldozed.
The inglorious hand of man,
doing its best to do its worst.
This is where the river loses its life,
where it runs to ground over grey stone,
to live, perhaps forever, in an underworld.
It is life and it is loss, where the running sparkle
becomes a low-flow, then a pool – then white dust.
On the far side, where the river once ran,
is a wooden cross. It is made of post, hewn
from the land where the man it marks lived.
He drowned here so many years ago; caught
in a flow he knew so well, yet did not.
Rivers tell no tales, hold no secrets, save
that of a former path: it can be seen. It left signs;
river-smooth sticks facing east, and an energy.
That cannot be taken; not here, not there