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iii Song of the Dam / Intuitive Hydrologists

water is a shapeshifter 
       that can brim ooze weep 
percolate through stone  
       that drips trickles evaporates
into invisible air
       hard to catch 
impossible to corral 
       yet this is our vocation – 			
to keep a fluid steadiness 
       in the lush & green-shoot places –  
& water is all our husbandry: 
       how to dam & brace 
how to shore it up with sticks & stones & mud 
       whatever we can find 
old fenceposts, bricks
       we cross-weave daub & fix 
impound the water 
       do not let it run
IF IT RUNS DROP EVERYTHING
     REPAIR THE DAM
these are our reservoirs & hoards 
      the water gardens of our lives
our sustenance & refuge 
      the way we survive
& everywhere it spills 
      the green-world thrives.

iv Beavers on the River Otter

Watch as they re-meander 
the straitened river
rewet the meadow 
till it is part mire
a mosaic of pond and bog
and cropped beaver-lawn;
river keepers
thinning the wood
letting the light back in.

v Song of the Riparian Zone

Come iris, come moor grass, come sphagnum and sedge,
come water mint growing round the beaver-lawn’s edge;
come aspen, come willow, come guelder, come hazel,
come hawker, come mayfly, come blue demoiselle;
come otter, come bubble-mouse, water vole and shrew,
come pearl-bordered fritillary and silver studded blue;
come yellow hammer, warbler, come dipper and teal,
come stone loach, come stickleback, lamprey and eel,
come spangled reed beetle supping air through a straw
for the river keeper is returned once more.

vi Heartsong

Always may there be a stand of balsam
set back from the river, and a mama beaver 
emerged from her nest into early dusk,  
grooming her punky, wicked fur,
steeping her tail in the water & eating,
the noise of her chomping like kissing; 
& always her kits will be slipping  
under the fringe of the willow to reach her,
and almost with a sigh, almost with a shrug 
she’ll turn and waddle up the bank 
dock a branch and trawl it back 
to where they bicker & play & feed in their recess 
of water & reed; & the bliss of their dwelling 
will rest on the evening, it is here.

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