Tourbiere du venec

Tourbière du Venec

It is the smell of water mint that resonates in memory,
conjuring the path through the boggy meadow along the stream
where it grows and scents the air with sweet astringency.

It was a sultry day and, sticky with sweat,
I stood beneath the shade of a willow sheltering from the sun,
the banks of cut branches forming the dam
across the stream luxuriant with mint.

Dragonflies hung in the air and swooped
for pond-skaters on the stilled water.
They said we would be lucky to see beavers
and we saw none.
But the dam, and the gnawn twigs
discarded on the bank, made them known.

If a beaver would dive now
into the peaty stream it would be luck indeed,
but I counted it lucky just to be here on a still day
in late summer waiting for a splash that did not come;
fulfilled by the place itself and everything that was there,
seen and unseen.