Pen To Print
Thames

Tamesis

by  Sasha Callaghan

Pen to Print Poetry Competition 2018/19 Runner Up.

Midsummer, and the lane is splashed in sunshine.
Unpaved, and bordered by hedgerows,
The narrow track runs, like a seam, to the river.
Embroidered with pink and cream roses.
Threaded with meadowsweet. Quilted with orchids.
Fortress Arcadia, holding out
Against the patchwork blanket of city
Amongst the swaying grasses, the thrift and daisies,
My dress shifts with the breeze.
In the far distance, reservoirs glitter, enamel blue.
Tar melts, gleaming silver black in the haze.
And beyond a sprinkling of houses, there are open fields.
Walnut Tree Farm. Lonsdale Farm.
Once, the river was a dying thing. Call it the Styx.
A dark arm that flowed through a wide sleeve of buildings.
Its tributaries, the Acheron, Aornis, Lethe.
Still, the river prevails as it always has,
Reclaimed by eels and salmon and flounders.
Sea-horses, a white whale.
This is a river of magic and strange dreams and portents
Tamsi. Tamēssa. Tamesis. Thames.
Always the dark river.
I’ll take off my dress on the grassy verge.
And swim down the river, to its tidal heart.
Emerge from the water,
Lily-white. Shining. Washed clean.
Clothed in green reeds and rushes and kingcups.
Fountain moss and marsh marigolds.
Honeysuckle and hyacinths. Oyster shells.
Cheapside garnets and seed pearls.
I shall walk with the river until the light fades
and we reach the ocean.

 

Copyright Sasha Callaghan 2019

This is a river of magic and strange dreams and portents
Tamsi. Tamēssa. Tamesis. Thames