Water Works

Over at More about the song, Rachel blogs that

“It’s World Water Day on Monday 22nd March apparently…and over here you can read about proper serious scientific events being held in Dundee on that day (organised by the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science). They want to link to poems about water so…what have you got? If you post a watery poem on your blog and link to their page (as above) they will link to you in return (if you send your link to this email). ”

Well, here’s one I prepared earlier, in 1997 to be exact. It was published in After the Watergaw, edited by Robert Davidson, by Scottish Cultural Press.

Water Works.

What works in water is its pull.
What we call wetting, flowing
is a force that sticks self to self,
self to other, other to other.

A grain of sand, cycled
from mountain to beach
and back, down again
to the surf’s grinding

of stone on stone,
slips on a film
which smooths moves,
cuts corners, rubs roughness,

finds itself, dried, as dust.
Remember that sting on your feet
as the waves swirled grit
over your toes?

The moon-sucked sea did that,
as the fetch of the wind
tumbled surface imperfections
of the water’s skin

into waves, suspended grains
to hurl at cliffs, cut back,
blasted particles free
from their ancient matrix.

The backwash drags its load
of miniature gems – too common
to be precious; base prisms
where the sun is split –

and gravity layers the column
by weight of granules. An underflow
picks and lifts the specks,
and currents deposit them

in long up-slopes, and sharp downs.
Most dunes will last a tide, no more,
but some, it seems, exposed and buried,
dry and harden, fix their moments.

In the hills, slabs of quarry waste
display the ripples of an antediluvian sea –
holiday snaps from the Carboniferous –
and fossil raindrops where we ran for cover.

It’s the same sand, from the start,
the same rain, the only sea,
the one water, indivisible,
first and final.

Copyright © Colin Will


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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8 Responses to Water Works

  1. Barbara S says:

    I love this poem, how it meanders like water and still holds true to its own properties – lovely.

  2. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks Barbara. I have to admit I hadn’t read it for years, and I’m still pleased with it.

  3. sorlil says:

    Really like this, the way it flows then that lovely ending ‘first and final’.

  4. Rachel Fox says:

    I love the first line.

  5. Rachel Fox says:

    And of course it pulls you in…which is clever, innit?

  6. morgandownie says:

    it’s the last four lines for me.

    and the middle

    and then possibly the beginning!

    it’s got geologist’s poem all over it tho! ; )

  7. sunnydunny says:

    Guilty as charged.

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