Early each morning, the river is obscured by fog;
sounds come ashore like cries from Limbo.
At dawn the young women come,
spools of brightly coloured fabric, with fishing rods;
and, magical spiders, they cast weightless filaments
out over the water;
for a moment there are more threads hanging
than there are people on the streets of London.
The river stops;
nothing stirs; the earth turns a little.
Then suddenly a rod bobs and bends
and stares through its tiny eye into the water;
straining, tensing, till in a slick of weed,
slivered as a newt, a young man's body breaks the surface:
bulb-eyed, marble-chested and tapered
to a train of drops dripping back into the river.
Thousands upon thousands, like unlit lanterns,
or candles newly lifted from wax.
And when the fog clears
the women are standing with their t anterns.
The bank is a thousand miles long
and the river is wider than an ocean.