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Birds on the Lake by Carol Wain

Arts Richmond

Online - 26 June 2020

Birds on the Lake by Carol Wain

Birds on the Lake

by Carol Wain

(August 23rd 2001)


Sun shimmers on an expanse of water -

We three who once knew her

Gaze out from the slotted windows

Of the turret hide that to me resembles

An old World War Two gun emplacement,

But here its purpose is benign.


A heron stands in total stillness, darkly

Silhouetted against the water’s light.

Canada geese waddle, graze and shovel,

And specks of smaller birds – ducks and coots -

Just visible through powerful binoculars

Emitting off-key notes, swim or dive for fish

Below water, breaking the surface further on.


This haven was new the year she died;

She never had the chance to come with us,

And I had never been, myself, till now -

Needing to escape the lingering

Dull feelings of loss that still cling,

Dissolving away as we walk in burning sun.


The peace of reed bed, bulrushes and iris,

Gliding and plopping of water fowl,

Dragonflies darting and whirring,

The splash of an artificial waterfall

And wild flower hues of mauve and yellow,

Mingled with the green of grass and rushes

Calm the mind for one endless afternoon.


The day after a visit with my husband and son to Barnes Wetlands Centre, in Richmond Borough, on a baking hot August afternoon in 2001. 




Poem for the Day Birds on the Lake

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