Anne Boileau

Anne Boileau likes to write about the natural world, landscape and a sense of place. She has given readings at Gainsborough’s House, Southwark Cathedral, The Poetry Café and Poetry on the Lake; she translates German poetry with Camden Mews Translators.

Study to be Quiet

     Window in Winchester Cathedral
 
He sits under a willow tree
on the bank of a clear chalk stream.
In my coloured glass the river flows
through night and day and night.
 
At noon the sun casts pools of green,
of yellow, brown and blue –
they slide across the limestone flags
of Prior Silkstede’s side chapel –
so mayflies dance, rushes nod,
warblers almost sing.
 
Darkness falls, the cathedral doors
are bolted fast. All is still.
But when Moon casts her fragile line
my river is drawn up into the night.
 
Beside the Itchen, the Kennet, the Dove,
Izaak watches for the flash of a flank,
the flick of a tail, a slicing fin. His bait
grasshoppers, lobworms, frogs.
 
Men stand and stare at me, at him,
in hushed tones swap tall fishing tales
of flies tried out, fish caught, fish lost,
and eels. Ah, eels, now there’s a thing.
 
At dusk he’ll take his net, his creel,
walk back to his rooms to write it down:
the sermon which broke from its chrysalis
on a shaking reed as he sat and fished
and read and prayed beside the waters
which flowed, which flow, then as now,
of Kennet, Itchen, Derbyshire Dove.
 
Through dusk to dawn to noon to dusk
Izaak Walton studies to be quiet.
 

Anne Boileau

A stained glass window in Winchester Cathedral is dedicated to the author
of The Compleat Angler informally known as the Patron Saint of angling.

Second Prize winner, the George Crabbe Memorial Competition, 2012

Publication: Suffolk Poetry Society Anthology, 2012

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