Near the river

Having absorbed the flood
and the fear,
the riverside grassland
flops on to its bed and sleeps

dreaming of things that come and go,
the flow
of footsteps splashing through,
heading for the bridge

New wood, the promise of lambs
in Dunston Field,
the steep path upwards,
the bite of dogs

and old, old patterns in the soil:
wintry walls and
hidden streets,
somehow surviving

And you with your reedy instruments,
your tiny drums and your fingerprints
pretending you know the music,
pretending you understand

Closing in, circling, walking away,
making signposts, heading for
the cedars on the hill,
not looking far enough

More and more dreams:
more and more water flooding through

Reckless wisdom
waiting for the touch of children’s fingers


Poem written after a visit to the old Roman site at Caistor St Edmund, near the River Tas