Saturday, 9 August 2014

Ode to the Wye

I paddle in your core                                      
and as I float you whisper
of  a long ago birth,
high in the purple mountain
Of Plynlimon,

and how you cut like a knife
through  sand  and limestone rocks                        
to make a valley.
You murmur of your journey to adulthood                                                                          
widening as you found
your way down to the ocean,

how you became home to the otter
and the kingfisher,
and a spawning ground
for lamprey, shad and salmon.
You tell me tales of battles
fought for your soul                                       
and how my kind made
artificial borders                              
along your length.

 How folk built castles
and cottages and lived
on your abundant wealth.

You speak of mines
and acid rain      
that threatened to spoil you.
And all the while I drink you in:
your calm clear water easing my worries;
your fast tumbling heart
thrilling me        
more than any fairground ride.

© Susan Jane Sims

This poem was published in Landscapes on the Edge : poems of the Wye Valley and Welsh Borders, eds. Margot Miller and Sue Sharp. Fineleaf books, 2010. The poem is unusual for me as I rarely write landscape poems.