Caught by the River


29th May 2022

A poem by Ben Addy.

Lode (plural lodes)
1 (obsolete) A way or path; a road.
2 (dialectal) A watercourse.
3 (mining) A vein of metallic ore that lies
within definite boundaries, or within a fissure


A man and woman met by a river. 
It moved slow with the metallic lustre 
of freshly laid road. 

Darkness pressed against the glass of the bar.
The rushing white noise of the young out to 
celebrate the dead. 


Under a tree –  where kings were made – a kiss. 
Time became something different, told in 
increments unknown. 

In the calf-skin softness beneath an ear.
The compass point of hipbone or barcode
Trace of a sock cuff.  


In the cackle of cold hands on arched back. 
The rough welcome of a wool coat against
What had come before. 

The days that followed felt like a new start. 
They walked the river’s edge, against the flow
To shame old Canute. 


They had forever and no time at all. 
Darkness brought them some comfort in how it
Seemed to slow things down.

As pyrotechnic lightning cracked the sky. 
The river became their lodestone, charged with
The power to bind.


Whispers in empty doorways to trick time.
Every promise and wish shaped to speak of 
A future together.

The tow of old lives got stronger each day. 
They didn’t speak of it and shunned the songs
Of loss and parting.


In daylight the river broke like crystal. 
A place in the other’s world sharpened by
Their view across it.

Wurlitzer pub nights and street-lit cartwheels. 
Yet still the plans made before it mattered
worked at their edges. 


But when a thing is worked – wood, clay, or stone.
It doesn’t diminish, it remains and 
Becomes something else. 

So they had no choice but to carry on.
Until the morning he had to leave and 
She had to stay back. 


He placed a book in her hand – a token. 
They asked how could this be the end when this
Was the beginning?

She gave him the directions he would need.
He held them and promised to find a way 
Back to her again.


Then in a final trick of their old lives.
He left for the place where she was from and 
She remained behind.

From the sky he looked down on the river.
Followed the meandering vein out West
Until it vanished.


With words by Ben Addy, illustrations by Tom Berry and typesetting and printing by Nick Hand, ‘Lode’ was written, illustrated, printed and bound in an edition of 1.

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