In these cold waters

In these cold waters

Low mist lying across
           the Thames at Erith
a wide stretch known
           to Daniel Defoe

no warmth in these waters
           where bream and perch
and pike and roach
           and rudd and carp
and gudgeon live out
           their cold-blooded lives

Between October and January
           salmon may be seen
heading upriver
           to Hampton Court
and rainbow trout
           are known to spawn
in the Wandle
           at Croydon

A Siberian sturgeon
           that had lost its way
was once caught
           at Dartford provoking
rare excitement
           among devotees

John Lyons


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