River Hymns

That evening was a special place,
Carried to me by the river. I hung
My feet in the water like fish hooks
And let the sun writhe overhead, turning

The riverbank the dappled colour
Of late July and the underside of leaves.
Heat blared on from the apex of the day,
Continuing to break records like twigs,
And so, the city stood still; an open oven.

But I had my transient oasis,
Caesarean cut through a concrete belly.
I had founded an emptiness, like Columbus,
And declared it all mine.

Leaning back, I was content as a lion’s roar.
No phone. No pen. Just my wet soles
And an orchestra of crickets and birdcalls.

The church bells tolled, soft and hourly,
Telling Time about the clandestine
In sporadic pulsars. Darker, water flowed
Towards entropy and sunset.

Light on the surface; the debris of day.
Twisting past, swerving wild through earth,
The river wrestled with its current like a vein
Of beauty inside the genius of madmen.

It was rare. A postcard perfect moment.
I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to change.
And so I repeated some lines like mantras
To prolong the mirage that poured past
As though lost and happy in a labyrinth.


Sorry for the brief hiatus, I’m currently enjoying my last couple of weeks in Italy at the family home in the Umbrian hills; it’s lovely, but also like a home for recovering addicts: no phone, no internet, no contact with the world outside the village walls. A good place for trying to capture some semblance of the Sublime and bygone eras, however. Enjoy the poetry.

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