Time Change Evolution - this week's challenge set by NanU, who is driving the poetry bus for a second week.
The day begins
fishing with my largest net
and paddling along the bank.
A lot of wash from passing boats.
lost in thought and coming
unaware to where
the bank and bed together
form a slide of slimy clay.
I'm in the water grasping the net
as though my life depended
on it. Floundering.
Far out. Beyond my depth.
My Gran is picnicking and has not seen.
Somehow I splash and thrash
and find the bank.
Bedraggled find my Gran who loses it
divests me of my clothes.
replaces them with her great ginger fur...
Why fur on such a sunny day?
How should a lad
who is not yet out of shorts,
but out of salts, know that?
Homeward on the bus. The 152.
Hampton Court and Home are its two termimi
(that fact essential to this treat:
to climb aboard, to be
the very first, and wait for it to go).
Upstairs. Front seat. The way we came.
The way we always travel for this trip
but doubly necessary now
to hide the shame of wearing Granma's coat.
This much is what the world already knows.
Now hear the missing seconds tick away.
buzz and smudge
I side between them as between two sheets
two seconds or two hours
to swallow water thrash
of arms and legs. I see
the sky below faces
peering up at me blurred indistinct
and one of them my gran?
picks his way into my brain
enters through my ears
then hammers to get out
the buzz or the water unburdens itself
plays on a vinyl the sound of people talking
distant through waves of needle scratch.
Water rolls out drains from ears and eyes.
I see again people diminutive
sitting on stone chairs spread
from bank to bank across the muddy bed.
The Thames is silent and they chat in silence.
People of stone, some stony as the chairs,
others crystal like water.
It is a city that I see a city without buildings
a city of people not bricks and concrete
not stone and steel, but only
of people. There
on the very mid-line of the river,
a wave frozen out of time
a sculpture an installation a gallery exhibit.
Like but unlike it, the wave of death,
divides my family
they sit on either side of it.
I know it as the final transformation
shapes unshaping themselves moving
from known to unknown each repeating
the very last words
that he or she had said to me - and me not listening -
then or now except in snatches. So they sit,
but not in water but in light. A crystal light.
A heavy light, one carved by craftsmen and supporting
the great weight of water piled above it. Magical.
This is a cave in which I'm breathing air
Fresh air ice cold refreshing. Refreshing
the thought that I, who cannot swim, will die.
I look for the wave, but now I do not see it.
In its place a rainbow hangs No, not one
but hundreds of.
All the colours of.
glaring from the dazzle of
fisheyes like mini suns unsparing eyes
unsparing of the eyes or skin.
and either side of it or them
the crystal people are reflected there
and are reflecting them . their colours
as their colours spread
like hues in watercolour paintings
or water stirred in artist's jars. The brown
and muddied River Thames becomes the rainbow -
Is a rainbow - arced above
and only I am here to know the fact
and celebrate it to myself.
What happened to that land, that stage
in my mutation
from dreamless boy to dreaming man
as nightmares turned to fantasy and fantasy to fun?
How long I thrashed
and sank and rose
through pipe dreams, trance and watery world
to splash my way to shore who knows.
It was not half as bad
not half as terrifying
as was the wearing home
of Granma's ginger fur.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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