Patrick R Chalmers

The Myth

Where the bullrushes grow ranker
(Oh, the long green spears a-gleam!)
There the punt shall rock at anchor
In the stream;
By the weir's cool curve of thunder.
By the stones where wagtails plunder
Foolish daddy-long-legs flies,
And the strings of rainbow bubbles in rhapsody arise!Hours may pass and hours go fleeting,
You shall heed them not, but stay
Lost to them, and all the sweeting
Of the may;
For beneath the swelling current
Where the midge-cloud hangs sussurrant,
And the sweeping swallows go,
Lives a most prodigious monster, lurking learnedly and low!

No! I've never really seen him,
But the boatman tells a tale
Of a something ("must 'a' been 'im")
Like a whale,
On the shelving shallows showing
"Where them kingcups is a-growing"
Only just the other night,
And the frightened fry went leaping from the Presence left and right!

But a craft old curmudgeon
He must be, for ne'er a fin
Does he move for any gudgeon
that you spin;
With a wink he maybe watches
'Neath the willow-root's dark notches
As you toil with aching wrist,
But the landing net's no nearer, nor the deft taxidermist!

But the skies are smiling bluely,
There is shade along the shore,
And the chestnut's litten newly
Lamps a score;
Drop the rod then and be thankful
For the sights that fill the bank full -
Verdant meads and ancient stems
And the broad paternal bigness and the Peace of Father Thames!



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