ABOUT THE RIVER GOD

His limbs lie over rock
as easily as water.
The heaviness of water’s
in his muscles, and his skin –
a pale, creamy grey –
has water’s look of lightness.

Downriver at Lambeth
in the workshop
of Mrs Coade
he was manufactured
in artificial stone. He’s here
to ornament the gardens –

those boys in ponds
pissing at generations
of startled carp
with a faux naïf grin
at their own badness –
grown up beyond manhood.

No rain can pit scars
into his surface
or erode the curl
out of his godly beard.
He deflects weather.
Cold will not split him open –

even the softening
of his belly into furrows
is durable. And the wreath
of stone flowers
on his brow is as one
with the unshakeable head.