Thames

Leaves

What will I do

with the view from my window

my own slice of building-behinds

and trees, the Catholic church spire

in the distance like a giant watch

on a pin

and the way the air shakes

every quarter-hour

vibrates

from the Reformation church nextdoor, out of shot

my white room

my tower, not ivory but

maybe sometimes I feel like

I’m in a precious high-up spot,

far from the world

like the empress in Neverending story

flying through space

with warm lights on and

Give me a name, Bastian!

so my domain is remade

I’m really here with dusty piles

of books that may be read

notepads filled with ink

spilled through with words,

lists, oh they just keep flowing

no matter how afraid or sad I get

I have built my life anew

and when I look out at

those trees and backs of flats

the kindergarten playground

where the foxes live

must remember that

it’s all mine, all mine, not owned

just like I carry the Pool of London

turbulent, tea-coloured Thames

strong, with still a whiff

of Elizabethan sweat and

Dickensian toil

the thriving grime of unwashed success

grit of an ancestor locked in

a prison hulk perhaps

so too, this Swiss scene is kept

inside

and yesterday, the trees so green

the fresh young leaves of spring

and did my heart ache with sadness

desolate, or was it merely glad to see

that once again

 

Photo: Claire Doble

About A River

Tower Bridge over the Thames

 

The Thames

Just is

As inevitable as umbrellas in London

 

Weighted down by warships

Pinned back

by buildings and monuments

 

To the past

And glittering present

Tidal but flowing ever onwards

 

Sectioned by bridges

The powerful, and delicate

All swept by greenbrown tides

 

I tried to make you mine

The Pool of London

Familiar but unknowable

 

Not like the sky over Newtown…

But I was rushing

And you were indifferent – so strong

 

And yet irresistible

Not pretty water

Like Sydney Harbour or the Zurichsee, but…

 

Compelling, unfathomable, there

Turner’s Thames too

Shimmering on the periphery

 

OK maybe a few drops

Seeped into my soul

Absorbed from a thousand cups of English tea.