Sunday, 19 August 2012

Poem for Sunday: A Deluge of Elvers



An elver is a young eel
(image source: motherjones.com)

Standing to attention,                                                            
Tall and straight                                                                                
They wait -                                                                                         
Towering high -
Wellingtons -                                                                                     
By a big wide door,                                                                              
Racy-red                                                                                              
And expectant

Then

Small legs
And tiny feet,
Hot with excitement,
Wriggle and push
Down.
Move around,
Settle,
Step out,
And we’re off.

We’re out

Out on the road
In an old Morris Minor,
Sweeping down to the sea.

And we’re there.
.
Out into the salty air.
Clouds playing hide and seek,
Wind whipping the hair
Of a small girl in round-rimmed glasses,
Mouth breathing‘ohhhhh’
As we go
Down to the water’s edge.

Stop.
Look.
Soak up
the sea’s treasures.

A deluge of elvers
Dashing …

Gliding and sliding
Glistening and writhing

In their millions.

A rhapsody of movement.
A magical melody …

Squelchy!
Elastic!
Springy!
Ecstatic!
Bold, cold
Jewels of jet
She won’t forget.

‘Can we take one home Daddy?’
‘No!’
‘Ohhhhh!’

And the day passes
And melts away quicker than
Ice-cream.

Home time.

One last look in the stream ..

Still
Pushing and jostling,
Squeezing and teasing,
Nibbling and nudging,
The jewels of jet
She can’t forget
Are there.

Then,

Small legs and tiny feet
Tug and heave -
Leave
The tall, racy-red wellingtons –
Out they come
And stand
On the sand.
Expectant.
Naked and cold.

Then


Small hands
Plunge and scoop …
Squirming fistfuls of fish
Filling the boots.

Up to their necks
Up to the top
Elvers slip and slop.
One boot full
Carried with care
to the car.
Two boots full
Carried with care
to the car.
Elvers slip and slap.

Then

Heading for home.
The jewels of jet
Are softly wet.
And crammed inside
For the homeward ride…

… Up to the wellingtons’ top

Safe …

Til                    we stop
And                 we tip
And                 they flip

Out

In their millions.

Spilling            over
Streaming       down
The slippery sides of
The racy-red boots.

Into
The boot
Of the car

Drying!
Desperate!
Dying!

In their millions.

Home.

Red cheeks drain
And
Tears spill over …
But their wet saltiness
Cannot revive the soft, black genocide
Or wash away
The pain
And the shame
Of a hard lesson learned
That day.

                                      Gillian Meadows


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