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Towpath In Winter

Winter towpath walking
Geese skeins call overhead
Muddy sections underfoot
Careful where you tread
Slate grey the skies reflection
In meadows turned to lakes
Bare tree in midst of wildfowl
The mirrored surface breaks
A lock beside a cottage
For narrowboats awaits
But with a lack of traffic
Fast closed remain its gates
Up ahead a lone craft
Disturbs the waters calm
Chugging onward steadily
As coots scoot out of harm
Beneath the brick bridge arches
Deep grooves in iron posts
Carved by horse-drawn barges
Now watched by boatmen's ghosts.
Yellow-green the branches
Strewn across the track
Cast down from treetops up above
By gale force winds attack
Locks and bridges punctuation
Marking stages on the walk
Unusual names on metal plaques
Prompting an impromptu talk
Smoke from out the chimney stack
Of lonely moored-up boat
Ice upon the waters
Where mallards quietly float
Near the rushing M6
A waterfall of sound
Path mud now lies frost-hardened
And not a soul around
Then overnight came snowfall
The world transformed to white
Hidden now the pathway
Grass verges out of sight
Each twig all clothed in icing
That edged the leaves of green
A sky that turned dawn rosy
Above the wintry scene
Heron in the sunlight
Pale spectre greets the day
Rising up above canal
On wide wings borne away
Another night of temperatures
Heading down so low
The waters now left hardened
By bank to bank ice floe
Inlaid upon the whiteness
Dog walkers leave a trail
Prints of boots and active paws
To tell a winter's tale.

Winter Towpath.jpg
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