Walking by the river

I long to walk on water, share

secrets of belonging.


On the opposite shore

houses drown in mirrored sleep,

grey as dawn.


Morning rowers curve the bend,

hoarse cries ricochet

across water,

like schoolboys  skimming  stones.


Their boat arrows past

its feathered wake, a ripple of memory

blurs into distance.              


The old blind man appears

along the path,

gnarled fingers tapping cane

like a water diviner

tracing springs of his youth.


He stops as I murmur “Hullo”

head cocked for an echo of birdsong,

turns milky eyes to stare

through lattice of paperbarks.

as wild swans circle his inner sky.


He smiles – moves on.

I am left

bereft of memories,

live with a simple grief

winter water dark with longing,

and an empty sky.


Jacqui Stewart.