Dawn Down The Thames

 

Down the Thames against the flow

Comes the new dawn’s golden glow

Painting reeds and lilies with its light

Swans and cygnets in a line

Dabbling down the weeds to mine

As startled mallard ducks and drakes take flight.

 

Through the trees a lonely spire

Above the fields of Oxfordshire

Stands to guide all sinners to its grace

Stock still beside the water’s edge

As constant as a lover’s pledge

A heron keeps its daily fishing place.

 

Then wary of the threat of Man

Is borne aloft on mighty span

And glides away past silent Radcot lock

Where flowers border mooring posts

As if they honour boatmen’s ghosts

And sturdy gates the waters safely block.

 

Vocal geese from Canada

Hinting here of lands afar

Floating past their graceful way they make

From the banks the timid coot

Frantic ‘cross the water scoot

Leaving splash and ripples in their wake.

 

Swooping buzzard, late barn owl

High up vee of dark wildfowl

Heading off to join some distant throng

Sleek and black the cormorant

Dive below their prey to hunt

‘Gainst a background hymn of pure birdsong.

 

On the path bright-coloured snails

Across the sky white vapour trails

As jets take tourists off to seek the sun

Young calves crowd round a painted boat

A blackbird sounds a limpid note

Sweet chorus that is joined in unison.

  

Flash of yellow twinkling clear

As wagtail dips across the weir

The river’s gentle murmur turned to roar

Flowers of saffron, blooms of pink

Edge the place where cattle drink

As generations of them have before.

 

Beneath a green arch stands a gate

A sheltered spot to contemplate

Reflections of tall trees on mirrored bend

Ahead the ancient Thames winds on

Towards the source where ‘twas begun

Flowing down to London without end.

 

And now the heron unawares

Is spotted as it calmly stares

Its neck hunched down just like a tired old man

Then once again it takes to sky

Seeking safer spots to spy

A tasty fish to suit its breakfast plan.

 

Outside each tent and caravan

The debris of the touring man

And barbecues abandoned now stone cold

Inside the sounds of youngsters’ glee

Exuberant in cacophony

While parents try their best them not to scold.

 

Arch of wood and bridge of stone

A secret Thames that few have known

As Nature greets the dawn with its fanfare

Cotswold countryside unveiled

A walk through dewy grass entailed

But sights to banish every ill and care.