A week of running beside the canal

On Monday, three yellow goslings
and the gander’s tongue thrust out.
On Wednesday, three goslings,
each with a dark Mohican streak,
the gander’s tongue thrust out.

A face comes back from
Earlier times; freckled, round,
brown eyes, and red, fair hair,
nothing beyond ordinary,
that always seems relaxed.

The gait below it; slightly
splayed and rolling.
On Thursday, suddenly
the may was open everywhere,
its small white clusters

like the rowan or cow parsley;
the florets twisted, flicking
on the breeze. On Sunday,
one upon the water, its head
tucked beneath its wing;

the other adult bird was resting
by the bank, the water
rippling its drowned head.
Of the goslings, nothing.
On the canal, warm dots

of summer rain. Among
the grasses, Friesians walk
from grass to grass. That face
opens out upon itself; the bee’s
feet touch the flower.

by Ian Pople

‘A week of running beside the canal’ is copyright © Ian Pople, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from  Saving Spaces by Ian Pople (Arc Publications, 2011).

Ian Pople was born in Ipswich. He was educated at the British Council, Athens and the Universities of Aston and Manchester. His first book of poetry,  The Glass Enclosure , was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second collection, An Occasional Lean-to , was published by Arc in 2005. He teaches at the University of Manchester. Read further selections from Saving Spaces, Ian Pople’s latest collection, on Arc’s website here.

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