Poets from all over the West Country entered the Mere Literary Festival Poetry Competition, and out of a large entry our Liz Light was shortlisted. She read this poem at the event, and the audience voted it into first place. The judges had other ideas, and only gave her a runner up position. Cheek!
On 24th February 1775 Gilbert White wrote in his journal:
‘The Appleshaw river runs.’
It took me by surprise.
Where of late the winter’s fullness
lent a slow slide to the river,
reflecting thin grey February sky and the wing
of a late magpie…..today
the Appleshaw river runs.
It runs. A swirling gloss of water.
All summer’s sauntering
meadow bordered, foot paddled, trout guddled … lazy river
is a headlong rushing: a sucking
and clutching of broken branch;
of broken hearts.
For rivers hold our hearts. We cast
our loves, our lives
on rafts of willow
on lines of hope
in bottles of glass.
Throw our shadows onto the river’s passing.
Staring we watch from bank and bridge
exulting, exclaiming, alarmed.
For when the Appleshaw river runs
uncertainty is present: and tales will be told
of the February that year
when the Appleshaw river ran.