Water Under the Bridge by Lynn White

licensed wales berndbrueggemann

Water Under the Bridge
by Lynn White

The Canadian canoe submerged as we got in
too clumsily.
The cushions, brought thoughtfully for comfort
were soaked
along with everything else.
Then we discovered that we were unable to co-ordinate
our paddling
so moving along the narrow canal in a straight line
was impossible.
Thus we made slow progress.
And then we came to the long tunnel.
The sign at the entrance was disconcerting,
forbidding entry
except with a torch.
Of course, we had no torch,
just spluttering roll ups
made in darkness
from damp tobacco,
and five loud voices.
Yes, we were five.
Four adults who should have known better
and a thirteen-year-old
in despair as usual
of his out of control parents.
All water under the bridge
when we emerged
into the light to tell
a survivor’s tale,
now a memory.

First published by Ugly Writers, June 2018

PHOTO: Chirk Tunnel, Wales. Photo by Berndbrueggemann, used by permission. 

NOTE: Chirk Tunnel is a canal tunnel near ChirkWales. It lies on the Llangollen Canal, immediately northwards of the Chirk Aqueduct. It is 460 yards long and has a complete towpath inside. The tunnel is designed for a single standard narrowboat, so passing is not possible. The tunnel is straight enough to be able to see if a boat is already inside the tunnel, and boats are required to show a light. Northbound boats must maintain power and momentum in order to push through, due to the shallow, narrow nature of the canal in the tunnel (water has little space to pass around the displacement of the boat), and the relatively fast two miles per hour southbound current of the canal. Over two centuries old, the Chirk Tunnel opened in June 1802.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was about a trip along the canal from Christleton to Nantwich, England, in the late 1970s. The tunnel is at Chirk. I don’t have a photo. I doubt that a camera would have survived the journey!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and on Facebook.

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