Quarter Mile Bridge

As the curtain of ice swept back
Leaving only a blanket of drift and till
The rivers emerged from their ice-coat
Throwing off old shackles
New courses cut, new ways found
Vital, young again, challenging –
They swept forth through these soft lands
Breathing deep in the warming air
Of a new Spring-epoch;
And for endless years
Men used that course
Thinking it ancient;
For trade, for war, for lookout,
Until a new water-path was broached
No flow there, no bore;
No ebb, no flood, no fetch…
Yet it is here, below the Needwood
The two life-bloods entwine,
One, the course of nature
The other, the cut of man
Side by side they co-exist
At the weir, a gentle embrace
A deft kiss – before they part once more.
Above their meeting,
Above their parting,
Runs the Quarter Mile Bridge;
Floating; a hover-fly above the washlands,
Oftentimes, the morning mist
Breathes so lightly on the ground
That the bridge dances on cloud
Perspectives diminishing,
Vistas opening
A chance, perhaps, to pause:
To think, to touch gentle waters;
To bridge the water worlds
Of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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