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,
buffets bramble-buried mills.
It skins the fallen trees it trawls
across the humps of weir walls;
mere arcs of foul froth
that spun the wheels and the cloth
that covered both the backs and frames
of painters brushing up their names.

And, bled of all its umber taint
it still deserves its wash of paint
when spring emerges from the rot.
The settled river now is not
that naked, noisome, colic churn.
It glints like some bucolic burn,
pollen dusted, hatching wings,
mailed in fish-blown-ripple-rings,
shaded in its lay of green;
and there the wrack abides, unseen;
dug in, sharing with the rats
another of their habitats.