Flood danger raised to severe
Deadwater Well, Foul Sike, Ash Gill,
Coal Cleugh, Snope Burn,Thinhope Burn,
Drowning Flow, Lislessburn, Garrigill,
Lightpipe Sike, Black Burn, Knar Burn.
This jagged front, isobars tight
as a murderer’s fingerprint,
flings in rain from the west:
sheet rain, angled rain, bitter rain, wind.
Moor grass, pasture, reed bed, hag;
moss, necrotic sitka stand:
every knife and leaf a watercourse,
bloated, the guts of the land.
In the river’s noose a shire horse falters,
flood banks over-lip, allotments pour.
Rheumatic terraces fill like fish tanks,
over human noise wild nature’s roar.
On, the cataract roils seaward,
hurled through seven spans of stone;
tree carcases gouge at high arches,
earth-reeking inexorable flow.
So at nights I now step into blackness,
grasp the lintel, dark spate-water teems.
Yet the old bridge is spectral and fractured,
as a turbid Tyne churns through my dreams.
Copyright © Andrew Dalgleish 2016