Chris Ogborne

 

                                                                Kernow Game Fishing

TIME

 

Solitude is being alone, the need to be alone, but there is nothing lonely about solitude. Rather, it is time to yourself  and high up on this river there is timeless peace, innate tranquility.

 

The stream is busy yet there is peace even in that haste. Only gradient dictates speed, even for calm water. Time is not a factor. It stands still here, has no meaning. Water flows, but time and space stand still.

 

The World turns but these rocks remain. Brought here in ice, in an age long gone, they stand now in time. They are still, content, un-caring. I talk to the rocks and they listen. They hear me.

 

The birds and the animals are part of the river, even the insects, as much as the fish. They pass through, touching the water and in time are gone. They use it, like me, but leave it un-changed, in truth un-touched.

 

I take time here but in reality it is borrowed, not taken. Leave nothing but fleeting warmth on the rock, soft prints in the moss. The river will wrap you in time, soothe and comfort,  will never let you go.

 

I watch this river. It runs through my days in a blink of time, yet all of life is here. Just look, to see and to find.  Take time, contemplate. Revelation is here, more than you thought it could be.

 

ATLANTIC SALMON

 

Early days in tiny pebbles, washed and moved by the flow

Pushed around, wary of all, hide from the Kingfishers dive

Siblings abound, life competitive, risks to take for growths sake

And always a wary eye above, below, beyond

 

A Parr now,  colours of mixed silver,  brown and mottled flanks

perfect fish in miniature save for outsize fins that hint at future power

Chase every fly, every nymph, every fleeting chance of food

Happy abandon of youth, no cares, too small and too fast for the Otter

 

Ocean beckons, inexorable demand fuels migrations urge

The first taste of salt, excitement, new flavours and confusion of sound

Waves move the small fish, the mighty power of the Atlantic

disdainful as it throws the tiny body on a whim  

 

A year on and  change is overwhelming, a proper salmon  now

The pure silver of the young grilse, strong and vital

Supremely confident,  feeding still the only thing that matters

Way out on the Atlantics depths, packing on condition and weight

 

Near miss with a seal just one of  many hazards, so much danger

Long lines of mist nets, barely visible but still so deadly

As gannets dive above the fish swims deep, taking more squid

Prepare for the odyssey that draws nearer with every day

 

A false start, the grilse and others like him sample the river mouth

but no run this year, time to play and grow stronger still

Sand eels spray in the air as protein fills the silver flanks

Another year and ten more pounds,  winter feed completes the fish.

 

Urge too strong now, the pull,  force that cannot be denied

The faintest taste of peat in the estuary mouth says ‘home’

Strokes of the broad tail push into the river, smaller salmon and peal defer,

The mighty shape among them too big to challenge

 

The angler spins, knows that for generations salmon have held this pool

The flickering lure annoys the fish, he snaps dismissively

Resistance felt he surges upstream over rocks and boulders, massive power

The angler stares in disbelief  at ruptured line that could never hold

 

Journeys end, gills pump for oxygen, lying spent on the redds with urge dimmed

Re-creation, eggs settle softly into protective gravel to nurture and shelter

The salmon turns his head downstream once more, ragged fins and tarnished flanks

The ocean will mend. The journey begins again.

 

 

THE BEACH

 

Ripples in sand carry the eye far away, horizon shimmers in midday heat

Yellow and gold meet Atlantic blue, less clear where sea and sky combine

Silver shapes over turquoise shallows, falling to darker hues in the channel

Gulls hunt scraps as the tide recedes, here a crab claw, there a single shell

 

Soft breezes lift grains of sparkling sand, play with their fragile weight

Send them drifting over the beach like wisps of smoke,  to drop and die

or form another layer in the dunes. Marram grass pushes through, seeks  light

Driftwood lays high and forgotten, bleached white, thrown by uncaring waves

 

Weeds of all colour hold life close to rocks, safe from prowling bass.

Small crabs scuttle away, shy of approaching shadows, hide beneath  wrack

Casts of worm show industry beneath, razor clams dive too deep for the spade

Teeming life in pools, small fish brazen, content as they soak up the sun

 

Every colour  thrown back, reflected by golden sand into purest light

The glare meets the sun,  sand banks become water surface, in turn becoming sky.

Boats left stranded by the tide lay on their sides, dormant, waiting

for water to return. Their purpose, their very lives suspended.

 

Stranded sand eels skate aimlessly through ebbing pools, liquid world shrinking,

their panic too real as they count minutes to doom or the turning tide

Low water comes, waves subside,  pull of the moon gathers strength for the flow

The incessant cycle returns life to the beach, brings salvation to the river

 

 

 

THE FIRST SWALLOW

 

Welcome back little traveller, pathfinder to the summer clan

Harbinger of lengthening days, lighter nights and stronger sun

Be still awhile, preen battered feathers into order

 

African skies are left behind, no thought to stay in safety

Migrations urge too strong, irresistible, flocks of thousands

The need to go, now, fly north to birthplace and destiny

 

Through storms in the Bay,  gales screaming

louder than the Lanners call as his strike is missed

Too fleet of wing, too alert, others feed the falcons lust

 

Some linger here, take insect fuel from lake or stream

but you fly through, driven, the restless pull lends speed

Elation in the wing, desire in the heart

 

Guided by sun and stars, scents rising from the warming land

Gibraltar the beacon,  fly high over Spain avoiding hunters

Un-faltering aim as high sierra winds push you on

 

The wave-topped Channel a final hurdle, wait for kinder winds

rising from the South, with ships a mile below

Distant remembered green, a  softer landscape beckons

 

The lake shines blue, Cornish moors familiar

The lanes, the trees, grazing sheep blink at your fleeting shape

The barn, the open window as before

 

Sit still on telegraph wires, look around you

That driving force dimmed, replete, spent for another year

Rest now. You’re home.

 

 

CAMEL DAYS

 

I walk on my river, the place I call home

With the murmur of water I’m never alone

The scent of the moors and the softness of  May

To wash through my life, my being, my day

 

The salmon are safe here, I wish them no harm

The rod is for company, it’s not on my arm

I see them in resting, they gather their strength

Then run this whole river, just mocking its length

 

Dippers dance on the water, defying the laws

That say they should fall in the white water claws

The Olives that play with the light in their wing

And the Wren who takes food here, too busy to sing

 

The Swallows fly low as they feed on the flies

Trout that stay wary but can’t help but rise

Martins take mud to embellish their nest

While the Otter just sits on the rock for a rest

 

Those who take charge of our lives and our World

Should spend one day here, see the magic unfurled

To feel this much peace, the balm of this land

To see that the answer still lies in our hand

 

I sit on the rocks and I think about life

And I wonder at all of the worry, the strife

It’s gone in a moment, it never was there

As a soft Camel breeze makes a mess of my hair

 

 

EVENING ON THE CAMEL

 

The days heat is gone, fragile warmth remains with only glow a reminder

Bright ripples give way to patchy shade, the river flows languid through dark pools

Sea trout stir and leave the deeps, alert for any food yet still wary

The angler treads soft through bankside growth, fly lands featherlight on water

 

Rings spread on the river,  parr and peal feed together, only part visible

A Kingfisher takes a last minnow before seeking  safety in the burrow

Fleeting glimpse of Otter as he too heads home, sinuous, gliding through  reeds

Water crashes as  salmon leap, pulled upstream by an urge older than the rocks

 

Wash of light in the western sky, crowning glory of the perfect day

Swallows skim low but Swifts hunt  impossible heights, riding  thermal spirals

Invisible now, no need of nests comfort, sleep on the wing these short nights

True mastery of  air,  sleek sickle wings make the sky their own

 

The wind dies with the day, ever softening,  hushed whispers on the water

No more than the breathing land,  movements of air too faint to see

insects dance their rites  then fall to the surface film, spent

Serpent currents form on the darkening river, floral scent lays rich and heady.

 

Skies change again, losing colour yet gaining contrast in a hundred pastel shades

of the suns farewell.  Streaks of high cloud reflect the last of the gold

Small birds make single notes, the cry of  curlew carries in the dusk, mournful, sad

Final flights of gulls seek lofty roosts on far cliffs,  safety in nights blanket.

 

Poetry

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