The riverside burns, ice and fire,
montbretia and lady’s bedstraw,
mounds of silver curled fern, like
in glimmering light, filtered blue and
punctuating the ranked display,
of a year already run too late .
The dancing light soft and subtle,
filters through the delicacy of birch
and the majesty of chestnut,
gentle tune of water over smooth stones,
a song of glaciers and mountains,
of crystal springs and deep spurs.
And further on below the weir
willows drown and dance,
in cadence with the gentler waters
that drift below and flow in ease
where salmon lie, exhausted
migration complete from sea, to death
Spawning done and cycle complete.
Here too pike lay ambush, jaws agape
and moorhens shriek in startled escape.
I see you there, denim jacket
over dark tee-shirt and vest
jeans and Doc Martins, face solemn,
you look at me and I see tears,
regret and bitter knowing
that we stand now forever apart
at the limit of contact,
you forever below the weir
and me above on the shady bank.
I long to walk down to you,
to hug your flesh and bones close,
to feel your breath again on my cheek
to look into the bottomless depth
of grey green and drown happy there
in love and wonder, to hear your voice
and feel your chin on my chest.
To smooth your hair back from
and see you face clear and bright
To count the bones of your spine
and to happily laugh and smile.
The river runs on, carrying
the days that turn to wasted years,
me above in the shade and you
in open sun, below the weir
separated by a score of years
and an ocean of bitter tears
I only see you now from the river bank,
a figure that stands in denim and dark shirt,
forever twelve, waiting below the weir.
In memory of an angel.
Shaun Kavanagh. 21-4-83 to 06-7-95
© Dave Kavanagh @ daithiocaomanaigh.com