Skimming down the waterfall, bouncing off the pebbles Sun has roused the pondlings for forbidden winter revels.
Hair streams like blanket- weed, scales spark like ice. Legs thrusting like a fishtail through the water slice.
From shallows’ warmth to chilly depths where no fish stirs, We pass between them, down to where the pond pump whirrs.
Bodies cooling, thoughts grow heavy, yet we watch and listen, Fight the pump’s drag till a gap shows, where the fan blade’s missing.
Then up the snaking tunnel, poured into the filter box We skid across its slimy foam and dive beneath the floss,
Gills closed against the sludge, with pounding heart and brain, Spewed out, to skitter down the waterfall again.
The children scamper from the house through freshly fallen snow. ‘Dad, Big Bird’s been here! On our grass. Look – footprints in a row.’ Their dad comes out to view the tracks – a spur and three sharp toes.
‘Looks like a Heron, after fish. He stood here by the pond... to watch, but couldn’t catch one through the netting. Now he’s gone. ‘And you’ll be late for school. It’s time for breakfast now – come on.’
All’s quiet in the garden. One more turn before we’re done, Before the cold reclaims our souls, let’s chance another run.
The sun’s moved round and left the pond. Clouds are gathering too. Those whirling blades seem faster now; we barely make it through
To ride the dark hose, surf the surge and join the water’s fall. But something’s watching, perched up on the channel’s stone-clad wall.
Black beady eyes, a beak descending. Quick – between the stones, Dodging and weaving as it strikes… we should have stayed at home.
Under rocks, through channels… still, we flee this dinosaur Until – like music calling us – we hear the cascade’s roar
And drop through plastic netting with no energy to jump, Ready to sleep till Spring… With luck, they won’t have fixed the pump.