River Torridge

I knew the river hid
behind the bank,
lying, like a length of silk,
stretched between the willows.

The surface ripped,
something dived –
gone too long to be a bird.

Eager head above the water,
down he went again,
a flash of oily fur.

He swam up beside,
this time he stayed,
looking at me straight.
I walked to keep his pace.

I loved his length –
his tail his body,
his body his tail,
his tail the river’s length.
We moved together
through the wind,
along the river’s course.

Another dive,
I skimmed the current,
searching for his guise.

He’d gone on alone.
I felt him though,
gliding through
the river’s strength.

Chrissie Gittins

Chrissie Gittins

Chrissie Gittins writes poetry for children and adults, short stories and plays. She has been visiting schools as a poet for over 20 years and is an experienced teacher. She has written five children’s poetry collections. Now You See Me, Now You… and I Don’t Want an Avocado for an Uncle were shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Both these, and her third collection The Humpback’s Wail, are Choices for the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf. Her new and collected poems Stars in Jars is a Scottish Poetry Library recommendation. Her latest collection – Adder, Bluebell, Lobster – was nominated for the North Somerset Teacher’s Book Award and featured on BBC Countryfile. Chrissie’s poems have been widely anthologized, and animated for Rhyme Rocket and Poetry Pie on Cbeebies TV. She was a finalist in the Manchester Children’s Literature Prize and she won the Belmont Poetry Prize. You can hear Chrissie reading her children’s poems on the Poetry Archive. She has also read at festivals including Hay, Edinburgh, Wigtown, West Cork, and in the Children’s Room of the Poets House in New York.

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