Between the Bridges, Whittington

by Marjorie Neilson

Between the bridges
water-weeds and reeds grow
by truffle-coloured canal, and
sun, strobe-lights
oil slick on water,
casts quivering shadows
over Graeme’s bench
where carelessly tossed cigarette packet,
torn paper bag,
scars widow’s memories.
An army of gnomes guard
hibernating garden furniture
clothed in forest green polythene
watch protesting mallards and geese
adeptly adopt
chevron tactical manoeuvres,
avoid collision with narrowboat engines
that chug-chug churn, agitate
water, floating leaves,
near spot where canal divides
streaming up to Coventry,
down to Birmingham, to Fazeley.

No red duster polishes commemorative plaque,
just a draught from fluttering feathered wings
or a soft breeze blowing between the bridges
at Whittington.


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Margaret Neilson