Down to the Stonebow
to look for the kingfisher.
He was there two seasons ago

Past the cleft oak
lightning-struck black,
meagre shoots on fragile twigs.
Painters delight in its form.

On to the bridge,
its beaten-earth track,
the grass, the stone and the moss.
Never again will packhorses pass.

In the Plantation the brook is deep
with green-brown reflections
of ivy-clad trees stretching for light
and calm water flowing.

Two years ago
the brook was poisoned.
Mallards and swans disappeared.
We haven’t seen the Kingfisher since!

Now the Blackbrook’s clean,
and ready for fishing.
Minnows and sticklebacks
swim by in shoals.

Even as I gaze –

Swift – into the brook,
flash of cobalt,
chestnut orange,
Dagger beak leading.

He returns to his bough,
knocks out the fish,
and swallows it whole
– headfirst!