………..‘…one broad presence that proceeds by craft and gratitude’ – John Burnside
The river reassembles after being in spate.
It is small water moving in shining
wrinkled glyphs and dimples,
a body of thought in movement.
It flows severally
in adjacent clear layers and overlays
takes circular spinning journeys within itself.
Having got itself back together
it is keeping its place, getting to its down-dwelling.
Dreams stream, or seem to, in this way –
they issue through a watermill
constructed at the nape of the neck
to churn and filter the load:
sudden surfacing of a stick,
data catching in the current. Last night
the flow passed a broken apple tree
and slowed to a dream of news footage:
a crowd watching a soil-brown wave
the size of a stadium
rush the headland, and stay there.
Then two children, not my own, cycled out of the flood
and up the cliff to us
and we went on home:
and home was like
the place this river hurries to, along the sopping fields:
old wide ocean, dark space of sleep
open reach of nothing
where all this water can curl and turn unnoticed
sleepy, a child in large arms.
‘River, post-spate’ by Joanna Guthrie was highly commended in the 2017 Resurgence Prize with the Poetry School.