Iain Twiddy

Slea & Fen Blow

The London Magazine - - NEWS -

The Old Slea, where the cat­tle­field fur­rowed down from the New. The one they left alone, un­dug, un­dredged, let go its own slower way.

A shal­low stream, re­ally, by the blood-catch of the black­berry bush and plumped net­tle-backs, slip­ping un­der the crum­bling blocks of the pack bridge.

We came for the scrabbed banks, the scat­ter-stones, the bronze drainage pipe that columned across, for how the flow rat­ted out from the shadow

into rushes and twists, silty gur­gles and sucks, sky­lark bub­blings and sullen, swollen deeps. We came es­pe­cially in the long sum­mer slump,

jump­ing in – or al­most across – try­ing the pipe, plash­ing down where the cows low­ered and tongued. But best of all was bend­ing in mid­stream,

dip­ping again, del­i­cate as a pen, for the hur­ried bulge, the cool and flurry-back, wrap­ping the cur­rent around your fin­ger

as clearly as she had you wrapped around hers.

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