The Mysterious Case of Him

Deirdre Hines

Ireland

Of all the waters we could have chosen to scheme
by, it was always Rogers Burn that caught us
diving with boys or fishing with worms pierced
by bent nappy pins sinking down into the silt
of shoelace elastic line; that once hooked a piece
of river gold we all wigged each other’s hair
to hold, insurance against the day we’d leg it
out from this old damned town that never forgot or
forgave a grudge, since the waters retreated and left
old Suileach behind as darkest of their imaginings;
Man eating Monsters gave our games that extra
edge, but all myth is more than a way through the stories
of why we’re here. The Burn gave me riddle of name
and he was reborn from goblets of bramble
blackberry, rose hip, sloe; fleshed in old alluvial
seasonally dressed. He was mine, I his until
running to water refracted a giantess back,
but still what words make flesh continues
as parallel, survives as echoings do
on bat pirouette along ravelling ribboned
light, as when liberationists freed the white
chemicals then rabbits from the Science Department,
or was it the other way about? In this new gene pool
I thought his hand had helped. Or once again when
strange lights brought back ‘Miracles at Rogers Burn’,
I knew his mischief had helped. But geography is more
than place, bigger than map, moving us like compasses
wherever water falls. And although we all
try to step into the same river twice, we’re
denied replay, but waters have run through us since
crawl from primordial seas. Still the ship we made
from an iron bed with crow’s nest was our own ark,
carrying us as celebrants into the future darknesses.
Look closely at shadows cast by light. Know all monsters
have as many ways of hiding as humans.
Still – sing fantastically of his guardianing of these
waters, this harvesting of mysteries in imagination’s name.

 

Deirdre Hines is a Guest Poet for Panorama.