After early showers on a capricious
Saturday in May, lunchtime
is bathed in balmy sunshine.
The shady toll path bustles
with strollers and joggers,
all inhaling spring’s steamy promise,
and echoes with a coxswain’s voice
counting rowers’ strokes.
On the opposite bank, a swan stretches;
alert to danger, she watches
over cygnets hidden in a nest,
anxious as perspiring rowers stop for a rest.
Around the bend, by Millmead Well,
willow branches catch
a glint of metal surrounded
by a foot-worn patch.
Walkers stumble on the scene,
at once nostalgic and serene:
two childish figures cast from bronze
kneeling before an open book.
Children and a fleeing rabbit
are reminders of many things:
shoes and ships and sealing wax,
cabbages and kings,
Cheshire cats and caterpillars,
Wonderland and magic mirrors.
Kim M. Russell, 2017
I started to write this poem after taking photographs on a walk last Saturday along the River Wey in Guildford, where Lewis Carroll often walked while visiting his six unmarried sisters who lived in The Chestnuts, next to the castle ruins. He lived the last year of his life in Guildford and is buried in the cemetery on The Mount. Linked to dVerse poets Pub Open Link night.