Crossing the Derwent in High Summer #poetry #earthweal

The river was in spate,
in spite of this, we crossed it:
water reaching almost to my waist
I carried my little one while
my eldest waded

I know this section of the river well
having paddled downstream years ago
in summer
there are pools of deeper water
but ample shallows:
it is safe

And also crystal-clear:
all over the UK, even here
pollution tops out lakes and streams 
but we, so far upstream
had found our haven

Crossing the river was the highlight of that day
adventure at its zenith
back at camp
we hung out sodden socks to dry
fried sausages
and fire-lit the sky

One week later 
the whole county seethed
beneath wave upon wave of searing heat
my little one and I paddled upstream
reversing long-past paddle strokes as in a dream
escaped it

Exposed rocks give onto
deep pools of life-renewing
healing waters, sacred:
and if the River Derwent dries
I fear our thirst will not be slaked
for centuries 

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

In this week’s challenge ‘River, Gone,’ Brendan asks us to:

write something about rivers, their symbolic complexity, their vanishing and what depositions now coming to view tell us about what waters giveth and taketh away.

45 thoughts on “Crossing the Derwent in High Summer #poetry #earthweal

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  1. Quite an interesting poem Ingrid! I loved it as I love rivers. Here we used to have a river that went through our city, but it flooded so many times that they changed the direction and now we’ve an incredible park that is 8 kilometres long creating a horseshoe across Valencia. But the River Turia still exists further south of the city, but it is usually dry, especially now that we are suffering the most severe draught in our history. Lovely pics as well. Cheers. All the best. (and I love that Beach Boys album and that one is quite a song!)

    1. I read about this park when I was planning to visit Valencia, but unfortunately didn’t make it before leaving Spain! I hope you are coping with the drought conditions. These are worryingly unpredictable times!

      1. It is quite a park, there is everything there from ice cream shops to bars to football fields et al. Yes, the draught conditions are very worrisome all over Europe. Thank you. Have a great Friday and weekend! All the best.

  2. Limestone country is great as a water filter before the water enters streams and rivers. We walked in Wharfedale last weekend but the water was still flowing strongly and the Strid still a hazard. Our rivers reallyy are worth taking care of.

  3. An excellent point. In the UK, around 80% of beaches do not meet EU quality standards. I should imagine that a similar number of waterways would not meet standards, either.
    In France it is about 20% and elsewhere about 10%. What are we become?

  4. The reader delights in the adventure, the camping (how wonderful for the children to experience this with a nature-loving mother!)….and then comes the terrible heat. Your closing lines hit the heart………we have no idea just how much we are losing, and are yet to lose. It is hard to live through all of this knowing. A really wonderful poem, Ingrid. So moving.

  5. How beautiful it is there, the poem does this beauty great justice. It reminds me of taking the boys camping when they were younger. So much fun. 🏕⛺️

  6. This is truly magical and reminiscent of lovely times and adventures and calls for attention of taking care of our waters Ingrid. The memory you gave them will last a lifetime! 💖💖💖

  7. Yes to the wonderful day. Yes to the fear. But, be there, be there and witness. This poem lifts the spirits and then holds them in fear. Wow!

  8. Brilliant, lovely poem. It certainly is worrying times Ingrid. We’ll probably be up to our necks in water at Christmas…with no heating on.

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