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.