River Wandle with Red Diesel


You follow its heena-ed suds to a small weir:
there the sick stream draws up its knees
on a dumped mattress, leaking lymph.

Round-shouldered willows trail their fingers
among the detritus of a Sunday visit
like relatives in a terminal ward.

The boating-lake's fed by its toxic drip,
and dabchicks scarcely leave a print
scooting across its unreflective surface.

A more contemplative sort might find
reason to mope here, racked with regret.
Instead, I turn my back on the sorry scene

and take a way out through an avenue
of over-arching trees, closely behind
an anxious father with, thrust before him

at arms' length, a bright explosive pushchair.




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