Caught by the River

Cennin Pedr: a poem by Richard King

Richard King | 1st March 2017

Illustration: Jon McNaught

As if to settle on a sense of self
were some form of treachery,
and though asked with compline regularity,
on the morning of each Saint David’s Day,
the permanent question,
the one concerning identity,
denies itself an answer.

Daffodils; even now in gaudy
the blooms seem hesitant emblems of this familiar uncertainty
at home on the first of March,
the early intrusion of spring
that does the groundwork for the ascension of spring flowers,
including the clarified leaves of narcissi,
whose examination of those who remain,
is acknowledged in the ridge of the mirror,
the better to conceal
contours disguised, dispersed sometimes,
by a partially buried strain.

The daffodils start rotting back, idly,
some their stems tied and neatened,
like bed clothes creased by a nurse,
in quiet attendance
at a slow and gradual fade,
providing treatment to an illness,
whose symptoms present themselves
in similar and familiar shade,
to lamp lit parchment,
or the understated infestation,
of jaundice yellow.


Cennin Pedr and its accompanying drawing are an extract from Slack Water, a forthcoming collaboration between Friends of the River Jon McNaught (illustrations) and Richard King (poems) to be published later this spring.

Richard King on Caught by the River/on Twitter

Jon McNaught on Caught by the River/on Twitter