Running Water

Running water
Running rivers
Rivulets chasing through the bog grass
Through the slate and through the loam
Off the road and through the heather
The blackthorn bites my arms.

Running water
Running rivers
Rivulets dried up after a drought
Tripping on tufts of moss
That come away at my feet.
There are hooves behind me.

Running water.
Running rivers.
For god’s sake where are the rivers.
I forge over the uplands
On the hilltop, there the rowans,
Lonely distant sanctuary.

Running water.
Running rivers.
All their little laughs are missing.
Is this the summer luck or some cruel game
The hooves are getting louder.
My legs begin to shake.

Running water.
Running rivers.
The ground dips down ahead.
I can smell the healthy bushes
And the sheep waste, and the wet.
And breath over my neck.

Running river.
Running water.
With splintered hands I clear the gate
And twist my ankle on the bank
And leap across the running water.
Never cross the same stream twice.
Hold your breath across the crossing.
Don’t agree to pay a price.
Don’t eat the food, don’t give your name.
Leave the horse with pond weed mane,
And when you’ve reached a safer shore
Don’t stop running.

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