Poem 74 – Perfectly Formed

We stroll along the muddy banks
Mid-January Sunday afternoon
Opposing the New River’s waters
Breath catching in the growing gloom
Peripheral vision glimpses movement
A twitch descending accompanied by
A plop, the sound of water applauding
I turn but did my vision lie?
Scanning the water I seek the cause
But only ripples linger on
Alluding to that past disturbance
The water bare, the culprit’s gone
Look over there five metres past!
Its long beak piercing through the surface
And bobbing on the waters cold
A speckled cormorant emerges
It briefly turns acknowledging
Our passing presence, two chilly guests
Before descending once again
An artful dive into the depths
I marvel at its perfect form
So naturally adapted to
The river life when mud hinders
The ease by which we pass on through

Yesterday afternoon we managed a brief walk along the New River as it leaves Cheshunt before it got dark and were delighted to see a juvenile cormorant fisher in the water alongside us, something we haven’t seen before.

© Ben Quant 2022

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