Selective memories by Gerald Dampier

Long listed for the WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition run in July & August 2021

That summer's evening...
               Sultry sunlight mottled the surface of the river. 
               We heard the mallard drakes
               quack, dropping in sequence to the water, 
               symmetric ripples in their wakes.

At that moment...
               The ducks owned all the water.
                Haughty pigeons cooed, perched high on branches, 
                looking down on all below.
                We owned the entire tow path,
                and on the further bank
                geese bathed in the late evening glow.

But now I know...
               That while those pastoral sights were real,
               the sound track - the gentle hum of insects, 
               the breeze, the birds, the water - is in my head. 
               For the sounds were surely post-industrial – 
               car horns, taxis, lorries, tyres -
               from the busy road bridge overhead.

But still ...
              At dusk the silent deer came down to drink 
              the muddied river waters,
              and wide-eyed cattle settled to protect 
              their wooded night-time quarters.
              As distant engines roared.

Selective memories of ...
             The River Wey; the motorway:
             side by side, but worlds apart -
             an expressway; and a less stress way.
             Pervasive noise, a million cars,
             but by us in the slow lane, all ignored.

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud, for a chance to win a prize. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Read more from the Long List of stories submitted to the WRITE ABOUT WALKING & LISTENING competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 26 September 2021 book here.

Buy WALKING – the 2021 limited edition illustrated chapbook anthology of 15 poems and stories inspired by walking and listening €4.50 + p&p

All proceeds go to support future Sound Walk Septembers

Gerald

Gerald

United Kingdom

Poet by night, university Teaching Fellow by day, Gerald Dampier lives and works in the South-East of England. Previous poetic publications include 'Curious Creatures: poems for all the family, including the dog' (Kindle books).

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