Reflections  by Conor Robinson


by Conor Robinson


Hush boys, keep your hissed whispers to yourselves, and
listen… to the water bubbling fruitfully,
coloured with all the pastel of a bruise.
See the way it wells and billows under the
rocks and into the inky hollows below;
a few hours, then we’ll drift back to the car, and homeward

see if you can spot the wood warbler, son,
the pied flycatcher, maybe even the
nuthatch. They know the woods, these birds do;
though, in their hopping, and their
tripping, and their tapping,
they are as child-like as you

the rough lunchtime sandwiches are waiting
in the old bread bag, with the bottle of diluted juice
and the bright plastic cups, dinted by teeth;
but the brothers are already kicking off shoes
and socks, discarding clothes with breathy laughs,
crashing through the mossy shallows with
the mad flip-flop of homesick salmon,
the water swallowing them up, to the waist

And if I, still in my soggy children’s trunks,
stoop over the edge, and peer down into the glassy pool,
I see both the smudged greens of trees
and the sunken, muddy deep;
and for a moment, just for a moment,
it’s as if there are rocks anchored in the sky
and birds flying through the water

Now, things didn’t, perhaps, happen like that;
perhaps trips to Allen Banks weren’t marked by
the burn of skies, gentle water and river song,
or the sound of the pitter-patter
of dews that fall from trees in
droplets, like rain music –
my memory is mud-stained, and gives
unclear pictures; like ripples in pools…

                                                                        But – I choose to remember
the reflection of sky birds gliding through the river;
of my brothers, and me, grinning our way into the evening,
tramping back with our makeshift tree-branch crutches,
to sleep away the long journey home


Conor Robinson was highly commended in the Young Adults category of the NCLA’s Water Poetry Competition 2012.

The NCLA Water Poetry Competition was judged by W.N. Herbert and John Burnside. The ceremony was held at Northern Stage on 23rd February 2012.

Photographs of the event can be viewed here.

NCLA Water Poetry Competition website.