Saturday, 3 July 2010


No one these days
at least I have not seen it,
so much as shakes his fist across the river.

Well, perhaps when Powderham Castle, night and day,
gigs or raves or rocks, whatever the verb might be,
and vulgar discord fills the wide basin of the Exe.

But nothing as of yore
when an amplitude of hatred flew
back and forth across the tides,
sometimes borne by cannonballs.

For banks are such opposites that they will confront
and wide rivers make deep divisions.

Celts defied Romans across these channels,
Britons hated Saxons,
Roundheads cursed Cavaliers roundly.

Even today perhaps, a legacy of ancient loathings,
sometimes arising like a miasma,
poisons the thinking of peaceable men
so that they, for no good reason, mumble to themselves,
squinting westwards across our broad and beautiful waters,
something like:

‘fucking Teignbridge fucking District Council!’

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