Avant moi, le deluge

The river, bored with lying in its bed,
Had yawned and stretched, then risen, gone outside
To run across the road and fields instead.
And thus I met it, midway through a ride.
We stopped to shoot the breeze a while. It told
Me tales from way upstream, showed me the sticks
And branches it had carried in its cold
And brown embrace. It promised me: no tricks –
But I did not believe it. Treachery
Was ever in its heart, so hoisting high
My bike, I took the walkway, carefully
Avoiding its soft voice and gleaming eye.
Then rode on, proving once again how far
Superior the bike is to the car.

19 thoughts on “Flood

  1. Hij Nick

    “Na mij de zondvloed” in Dutch. Not sure what is the English expression.
    I think a bike is a lot better than a car, but not when it rains lol. Lovely sonnet again. 🙂

    I hope you will keep dry feet! Here the sun is shining a little, as if reluctant to show up for work, and as it is a national festifity day, (Queensday but nothing to do with gay) it is very welcome!
    Ina xx

    • We don’t have an English equivalent to ‘Apres moi, le deluge’ (in the same way that, somewhat ironically,we have to use the French expressions ‘le mot juste’ and ‘je ne sais quoi’!) – the best I could do was tweak it to ‘avant’.

      The sun is shining brightly here today, so after a couple more chores I shall be off out again – and looking forward to coming home with dry feet! Enjoy your Queen’s Day 🙂 N.xx

  2. Alas, the last time I came upon such a stream…I mistakenly listened to its kind words and so began to ride across the road…but was swept from my bike as the stream giggled in my ear….enjoyed this post and photo.

    • This stretch of road floods pretty frequently, so it has a depth marker, which told me the water was almost two feet deep: no way I was going to try riding through that! Rode that way again today, and the water was gone and the tarmac bone-dry. What a difference 48 hours makes! N.

    • Thank you – I’m pleased to say the waters had gone when I went that way again yesterday. And there was no sign of the truck that was about to give it a go as I rode off, so I assume that guy made it through OK as well!

  3. Hi Nick,
    I do like the ending to this poem. As an avid pedestrian it’s always nice to see other modes of transport trump the car. 🙂
    I very much like your desciption of the flood too, almost like those mythical sirens, luring men to their deaths should they not take caution.
    This was really enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing and the smile. 🙂

    Tikarma. xx

    • Glad you liked it, Tikarma. The driest winter for 60 years, and the hottest March in a century, has just been followed by the wettest April since records began here in the UK. The price we pay for our temperate climate, I guess! The irony is that this part of England (south east) is still officially a drought zone, having had two exceptionally dry winters back-to-back; I got soaked on the bike more often in April than I did in Jan, Feb and March combined. See? We Brits really are obsessed with the weather! N.xx

  4. Fabulous Nick!!

    And you talk away to the river!! Join my totally mad gang! I love it 🙂

    I can just see you and your bike triumph, victorious! 🙂

    I think the weather has joined the totally mad gang too!! 🙂

    Christine xx

    • JOIN the totally mad gang? I’m already a life member. And the weather has gone a bit crazy, hasn’t it?

      Takes a lot to stop me and the Paramount: it’s a replica of a bike built by BSA and used by paratroopers (hence the name) in the Second World War as rugged battlefield transport – just the thing for our potholed and debris-strewn roads. It’s a weighty beast and has just five (hub) gears, so is about as unlike my modern road bikes as you can get, but I love it. The original was hinged and folded in the middle; the idea of jumping out of a DC-3 over occupied Normandy hugging 40lbs of bent steel, as well as a rifle and kit, is simply mind-boggling. I’m told that the original bikes weren’t much good (I don’t suppose I would have been either under those conditions) and that their main tactical value was as heavy objects to be thrown at the enemy 🙂 N.x

    • Sounds idyllic. My world’s pretty cosy too, really; that’s why I enjoy road cycling – it’s physically hard, mentally challenging and, when the weather’s foul, feels a bit heroic. Toughens the mind and body, which I think is probably a good thing for a poet 🙂 ! N.x

  5. I’m so far behind on my reading that I am embarrassed, Nick. I’m not sure I’ll ever catch up! This is, as usual, a wonderful sonnet. I love the personification of the stream and its seductiveness. The idea of not trusting it is emblematic of how we should probably treat all life, taking the walkway above the stream of life and not jumping into the stream, keeping safe and dry in the process. The point of the couplet is well taken: If you take a bike and time, you not only can converse with streams, but you can also decide about what to do. In a car you go over the bridge and maybe see the stream–maybe not. Just a great poem! I’ll work on catching up too. My last cancer treatment was yesterday, so I’m hoping I’ll start building up strength again.

    • I’ve been very slow to respond to comments myself this week, Tom; my only excuse (and it;s a feeble one) is I’ve bene out and about working again. Anyway, I hope the latest round of treatment has gone well.

      Thanks as always for your measured and generous response; you have a gift of seeing and drawing out depths and dimensions I was only partially aware of myself, which I find really exciting.

      Thinking of you both. N.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.