A sturdy small girl
stomps down the pavement in a paddy,
crosses the field at speed
to launch herself with aplomb into the dinghy.
Rocking wildly she picks up an oar
to propel the boat upstream
by paddling over the stern.
Her fluid strokes are expert,
outrace the chase by angry parent,
She steers skilfully,
leans across the current towards open terrain
on the far side of the river. Escape, freedom
Countless small creatures scent blood,
descend on tender skin for a meal.
Hot itching inflames her temper,
fuels an about turn in search of respite,
calamine lotion and a soothing touch
from mother, jovial now that the wanderer’s returned.
This was me as a child, living beside the Thames. The stately river could ease my mood in an instant. Not so the midges!
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