A Birthday Poem

Today is the day, but as always I plan to have a birthday month, so I spent yesterday walking beside the river Bovey. This is the result.

Rushing Slowly

I contemplate the transience of the River Bovey.

Every molecule of water that flows past my feet

has a destiny, whether it is to evaporate,

to splash onto the shingle that scratches at my soles,

sink into the peaty soil

or connect with the vastness of the sea.

Every leaf, green, frosted or baked dry by the sun

will crumble, flake along the route

or wash up intact on a beach,

ten or ten thousand miles away.

Every little stick tumbles and rolls

between east and west river bank,

to be claimed by a golden retriever

or gathered by a green consumer

to give home a few minutes of warmth.

From its source between Chagford and Shapley commons,

the Bovey glides, swirls and gushes to merge with the Teign

and rush headlong to the sea.

We are as the smallest drops, the most delicate leaves,

chasing through our three score and ten.

Transient beings, swimming, floating,

crashing against the shore of life,

relentlessly struggling to connect

with the vastness of our race.