The risen river’s rolling news
exposes us in what is spews
along its matted, flattened bank;
the trace of us that never sank.
It hiccups into filthy frills
and buffets bramble-buried mills,
skinning fallen trees it trawls
across the humps of weir walls;
mere arcs of foul froth
that spun the water wheels and cloth
that covered straining backs, and frames
of painters brushing up their names.
But bled of all its umber taint
it might deserve its wash of paint
when spring emerges from the rot.
The settled river then is not
that naked, noisome, colic churn,
rather, a bucolic burn;
pollen dusted, hatching wings,
mailed in fish-blown-ripple-rings
dappled in its lay of green.
And there the wrack abides unseen;
dug in, sharing with the rats
another of their habitats.