At river, lake and sea side,
we saw fish leaping up and kingfishers
flashing by - recognition coming after the fact.
Swallows and swifts grazed the surface
to scoop up insects rising.
Swans braked vertically for a crash landing,
wings beating with the noise
of a thunder board
and then recovering their poise,
swam sedately upstream.
Ducks bobbed and uptailed,
our host bailed
120 litres from his dinghy.
Waves rolled in and deposited their dead
wreathed in weeds.
Monsters emerged as the tide receded
and cows slumbered like a pride of lions,
in a glade at the water's edge.
Perfect pebbles striped, mottled, layered,
begging to be selected,
had lost their shining allure
when pockets were later emptied.