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!

FEBRUARY

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.

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