The old man sleeps rough
and stands for hours watching
the play of light and half-light
on the ripple-patterned water.
Banks of leaves of red and gold
drift crisp and dry against his shoes
as he stands to watch beneath the clouds
the ripples in the river.
Along the bank the squabbling gulls
dip and dive to snatch at bits of bread.
Their noisy brilliance sleek and white
hangs bright against the grey of rainy skies
a short-lived dance that curtseys to the wind
while the dimpling water ripples on and on.
Seasons change and chill winds blow
and sunlight’s pale as ice and glacier-cold.
Still he stands among the leaves
to watch the endless river pass
with wind-drawn patterns on its skin
and narrow shadows cast by drifting birds.
Above his head beyond the blue
in the silent darkness filled with stars
the great wheel turns and turns and turns,
rolling from sky to unseen sky
with rivers of comets in its wake.
He stands and watches time flow by
his feet the pivot of the universe.