Footnotes to a river
- Pine trees are confirmation that darkness clings erratically. The river-gums, on the other hand, are pale as thighs.
- A streambed knuckled with pebbles.
- In conversation with the river, you will not match its fluency.
- Bellbird, stitchbird, waxeye, plover, swallow. The gas-blue flare of a single kingfisher.
- A waterfall is water ¦ rock ¦ air in exactly equal parts.
- Here, dogs emerge dripping from their peaty plash and wallow, mouths open as lilies.
- From the thickets, cicada static.
- Stare at the surface until your eyes overflow with dazzle, and a thousand small fish look back at you.
- By midday, the river is polished greenstone.
- (i)Longfin eels loiter in the backwater.
(ii) Chicken livers make good eel bait. But if you lie on the bank in the warm afternoon and
watch, you might leave empty-handed, your head full of ripple and quiver.
- Emerald dragonflies feast on a rabble of gnats.
- Bullrush, flax, floating fern, ribbonwood, swamp-grass, mangrove, sedge.
- The river will outrun you, always.
- A half-drowned bee will climb to the tip of your thumb, shiver the wet from its wings.
- In 2006, an unprecedented spate took the footbridge. All night it boomed through dreams, chilled pillows with spray.
- Shrugging off branches, the moon reminds pooled elvers of their path to the sea.
- Night drops from the trees, adds its dark tassels to the river.
Cindy Botha lives in New Zealand. She started writing poetry late in life while caring for her mother, a dementia-sufferer. Her work has been published in NZ, the UK and the USA. She was winner of the Rialto Nature & Place Poetry Prize, 2020.