As days shorten, when dusk drops leaden
always unforeseen, unwanted
but punctual, a dedicated gaoler
the mind, thus confined, is drawn
to tracing tracks of memory, old paths
followed with an index finger.
Often, thoughts fix on a place
where it is still summer; on many-hued
evenings exploring the sodden frontier
the debated province between wood and lake
on a favoured spot for the evening rise
where quiet plashes announce
the trout’s harvest of the damsel fly.
In the dimness of the abandoned boathouse
crawling a neglected punt’s rotting bilges
looking down, the gaze alights on a gem
vivid, suspended in tenebrous, aqueous limbo
alchemical flux of malachite and turquoise
a teal drake, constricted by the pitiless clamp
of a skulking pike, then discarded.
The prospector dips an arm shoulder-deep
recovers the dripping remains and
saves an iridescent pin feather, hoards it
in a bedroom cache, waiting for the time
when it will take up its place in the band
of a keen adolescent’s first fishing hat.