Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 405

Silver Circle

Moored boats loll on their aquatic bed.
Air soft, the river’s millpond-ness lulls.
The sun glints off mast-tips
and flickers in deep-current tails,
            the single sign the river moves, twitching like a cat in preyer.

Away out amidst the shammed stillness,
Seamless blue of water cracks
            to ripple silver
As if around a sudden rising spit,
            its imprint,
            a phantom sailboat’s spoor on roiling surface.

It seems to rise from deep,
            deep, this formless form
spangled by evening’s sun.
The disturbance, lucent,
tumbles silver and platinum in the still surface of the tide,
            which itself, in miracle of turning, simulates stillness.

Could this be a shoaling of waves, far from land,
or a frothing of silver darlings,
            their ghostly presence?
Or a mermaid’s ring where, as with faeries,
                        parlous entry may cost untold sorrow?

I watch from over here, high on craig
People on the path below me saunter, cycle, swim
Oblivious to the sight beyond.

And then, the silver circle wanes, is gone,
            surrendered to water’s false innocence
like the promises you make.

Rhoda Neville

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