Stricken by a passing lorry
willow wands lie prostrate, un-feathered
(green daggers loved by W. Morris)
whipped off their tree forever.
Wading in a mountain torrent,
avalanche of water biffing black rock
gentling green eddies, spuming white depths,
the wall-eyed Kashmiri ghillie
tore strips off bendy willow branches,
trussing trout brown slippery cold,
tricked to death by flies- maytime blue-
and sometimes little pulsing frogs
cast in when the sport got tedious-
with no sign of easy gains
for the big shots with their rising bellies
And picnic hampers from the plains.
Willow switches cooled the fish
cradled by temperate leaves in place
as chianti bottles in a raffia case.
That will never be again,
sad vale of Kashmir, our Shangr-la.
Ghillies, horseboys, houseboat–wallahs,
have now found new roles, other masters.
Suspended on a Cotswold ridge
the moon hung pink, a grapefruit segment,
succulent, moist, out in space,
while rabbits scutted to dark coppices.
In the train a German boy
shrugged off his backpack,
wiped his forehead on his sleeve
settled into lunch dissecting grapefruit
with considered markings of an army knife
Posted rosy crescents one by one
into his boundless orifice
made elastic with habits of rolls, orange juice, crisps
bulging from his Sainsbury bag.
So one image looped to another and another
threading back into the past,
sometimes unbearably sad,
sometimes funny and banal.
Mostly a Lament (for Kashmir)
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