Most of the rope is out of the water
paid from a coil
wound tight as a tourniquet
around the high fat branch
of a river-soaked oak.
Climber's rope, banded like a snake;
It's not the Tarza of my childhood,
born of some glue-sniffer's epiphany,
rushed like a lynching in Newburn Dene and rigged
from a thieved washing-line.
The banks were steeper; the river humbler;
the seat was rougher – the flight?
The flight's a crisp memory:
the solar plexus shifting gears,
heart like horse hooves,
eyes wincing open, licked by racing air,
the arcs reducing
and the rope revolving as the pendulum slows.
It was sublime.
I could reach over the testy river and draw
the rope towards me. I could swing, swing over
the hasty water, compare sublimities –
the years that separate the flights.
But all rope snaps,
says the mind of a middle-aged man
who was never so heroic
on the Tarza in the Dene
as he likes to make the memory play out.
Common-sense is cold, cold as the river, cold as the day.
D.W. Evans was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives and works in Jersey. He won the Alan Jones Memorial Prize in 2019 and 2020, he was shortlisted in Ó Bhéal’s Five Words (2020 and 2021) and was highly commended in Acumen’s first international competition in 2020. His poems have appeared in the Frogmore Papers, Proverse Mingled Voices (The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press), Best New British & Irish Poets 2019 – 2021 (Black Spring Press), Lucent Dreaming, Bindweed, A3 Review and Madrigal, and, later this year, will appear in The Honest Ulsterman, Epoch and Driech’s Pop anthology.