White noise pours from the earth –
a liquid meteor shower.
Meadowsweet almonds the air.
I crush watercress with gritty sandalled feet,
brambles snag my ankles and I know
there will be a scabbed tear of scar next day.
I splay my hand as a sieve – splashes
darken the threads of my cotton shirt,
smear beige streaks on earth-brown legs.
I’m doused with the spring’s strength
as its rainbow arc spurts to the stream
plashy with mint and rushes.
The flow forces the jug down,
water spills up and over before I can stop,
droplets poise on the rim.
I carry it back to the house,
curl one hand round the haft’s sharpness
and finger the scallop shapes engraved on the glass.
A pool of stillness lies at the table’s centre
as clear as the Waterford chandelier
above the staircase in the sisters’ house.
A miniature spring pours from the jug’s lip –
I taste sunlight so cold it stings my teeth
and scalds my throat.
I’ve kept the jug.
First published in The Art of Gardening (Flambard Press 2010)