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Tomnahurich Bridge

 


Tomnahurich Bridge

-  Sheengh Pugh (U.K.)

 

Well into May, the canalside trees

all pink froth, but cloud louring,

full of hail. Slivers of ice

 

on the towpath.  A couple mooring

at the pontoon; he hauls on the bow

and thinks this used to be less tiring.

 

He brushes a hand across his brow,

then upward, as if to flick back

unruly hair: no problem now.

 

She holds the stern rope, taking in slack

while he makes fast.  Her shoulders droop.

She's eyeing him: an uncertain look,

 

as if something has come to a stop

in the way she thinks about him,

or herself, or both. They tie up,

 

as they have done many a time;

you can see they were once good

at this. The cold's getting to them:

 

they climb aboard for coats. Though the cloud

darkens, they set off walking, shoulders

squared, arm in arm.  Overhead

 

the wind's rising: at first it just stirs

the leaves, then a sudden dense fall;

you'd think it was snow, but the air

 

is pink, faintly scented, petals

heaping on the path; there'll be nothing

but bare branches left. They feel

 

their careful way, not wanting

to slip on the papery scraps,

leaving the boat behind, heading

for a nice cup of tea, perhaps.