A Flight of Gulls

The river nestles the crane
And the flag
And the iron red hut
In the curve of its arm;
The loaded barge snowploughs the water,
Gravelled to the water-line.

The heron's grey gaze
On the river
Bank, and the quill
By the ferry shore,
Are incongruous in this brief confluence
Of light, unquestioning, sky.

Suddenly seagulls break
To tack to
A colloquy of marketeers
And aged traders,
The waters cracking with their cries as the gulls
Elide their river to the rich tide.

Then the driving of piles continues
And we fly
Away from the river
With a burning cry,
As though the river was touched by the fists of the sun,
Not the hands of a greedy Dutch town.

When evening comes it is winter.
A newspaper
Arcs in the wind
And declines; the hands
Of the railway are reeling in the distance like a debt;
And the city respires in a halo of its breath.

I hear only the sound of a train.