Pond Life

For the National Poetry Day competition. "Water, water, everywhere."

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1. Pond Life

My father's pond was his pride.

Every day he would scoop out the leaves

and tend to the aquatic fauna and flora

and spend hours stooped over the gurgling waters  

 

to observe the invertebrates there,

hands plunged into the carefully proportioned flowerbeds

bordering to remove any weedy invaders,

surrounded by the army of colour.  

 

My father's pond danced with life

that thrived and died like a domino,

the pond's young cheeks ever rounded

with her innocent smiling.  

 

The shallows glowed with sunlight

when she was pleased with the world;

her darkened fingers clasped the water

when she mourned the silent day.  

 

I did not see all this:

I was her Sunday visitor,

the Pastor, the snails might say

or admiring tourist returned annually.  

 

But what we all saw was a year gone by

when the amber fish that bided there

grew pale and wearied:

one by one were floating to the sky.  

 

When all dead the pond froze for the winter,

and so we thought its life had come: and gone.

That spring, as Papa's pride thawed,

out swum a timid thing into the shallows -  

 

grey, small, unsure of the world.

The next week it was joined by another and more.

Soon father's pond was a thriving fishery again

and every day he would proudly observe them.  

 

He called them survivors:

for they were valiant little things,

soon gold like their parents and lively too,

the pond their haven, their deity my father.  

 

And so my father's pride ebbed and flowed

like the domino of life in his pond

and the fish, as they swum in their paradise,

slowly forgot that they knew nothing of their parents  .

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