Haunts of the Grand Union Canal
Few things bring more calmness than
a wander along the canal;
leaving traffic and cares behind,
getting away from it all.
The weirs gurgle peacefully in the sun,
the ducks splash to and fro;
it’s a gracious time in early Spring,
and a pleasant place to go.
Echo Bridge is an exotic place,
not one echo but many;
the source of its special properties:
it’s shaped as a catenary.
The effect comes as complete surprise,
when one is just walking along;
it’s rare to hear such sound effects,
repeated and oddly strong.
It soars overhead, straddling the canal,
symbol of a glorious past;
it’s brick-built arches represent
old skills not yet surpassed.
Secret Island seems barely alive,
only the ivy seems viable;
and yet, in just a few weeks time,
its paths will be barely passable.
Now its trees seem dead and white,
brittle and devoid of life;
Soon leaves will come bursting forth,
and nettles and briars be rife.
Before, few would have ventured here,
fenced off, locked and defended;
now it’s covered in paths and litter,
its fence no longer mended.
We wander over the island at will,
studying the woodfall as it crumbles;
this small canal-bound islet,
rare remnant of English jungle.
We make our way back as the light is fading,
past joggers, geese and swans;
we’ve had a pleasant day of rambling,
aimlessly hither and yon.