Wye – by Matthew Plumb

Posted on in canoe adventures, hay on wye, open canoe, racquety farm, river wye, special occasions
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when your friends get published . . .

Matthew has been a pal of ours since forever; he has been there through important moments in our lives like felling the Larch to start the building process at Larchwood and teaching Aubrey how to use a chainsaw (scary!) . . . and this year he got published!

So what better way to kick of this brand new year than with his poem about the Wye.  These words manifested themselves during many nights over the years camped out here in Hay on Wye on the banks of the river PLUS it was most definitely influenced by paddling the 100 mile expedition on the Wye with Aubs and a handful of other great people in November 2016.

So lets start 2021 as we mean to go on . . . with recognition, good intentions and kindness.


(and if you want to read more grab a copy by emailing The Collective Press collectiveorders@outlook.com)

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Slower deep

darkening up to iron over the surface

scoops clear in the hand,

silvers well when sown.

Working rhythm stealing our musical circuits

sliding off the land

smoothing stone with stone

rain swell heaps

a load surge coloured by the plough to turn surplus.


Drought, and the darkening again

and the silent black mirror

hoisting the stars

until low spirals of mist

evaporate in the climb of the morning

and welt of the sun tone the river blue.


Blue where the lock of earth opens

the soft deceits of colour

where context parts

and distance works bending tricks;

change of shade only deepens the meaning,

everything of earth and night and blue.

Clear, stone-sweet contact

cupped in the hands where it slips,

source of river swear my mouth to begging.


Reddening mountain backs

and you take up the slicing bracken

for a lie in your hand

while the sun lies in truths

as the sun lowers and draws

all the light the sun plays

to work the sky and clouds

and the source darkens up

to black, black and clear as night,

and the stream brims

through the night

under the living stars

under the light of the collapsed,

lucid nature sluicing murmurs

in small

musical whirls only the ear can see.


Daylight, and the true lie of blue.

Blue of black water through summer


into winter.

Under the colour, the tow –

healer of suicides –

force of the sea dropped from skies,


of the falling,


of the river running.


The tow is contract –

cool of your body where touch slipped –

summon of river the body’s keeping.


This is the way dreams tap

and drive the river into happen

solid and black and span

of present sleep that moves,

and the river comes secured

in a cute lie of shade

ring clear in the shallows,

so the night river cups

in all that blackening freight

a dream you swim,

swim the night,

so clear, so full of stars,

swallow the white light in a gasp

and go where the river wanders.

A black river full of stars that track so slowly.

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