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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

View from a Bench-Putney

page 144

View from a Bench-Putney

A plaque screwed to the back informs us
that this bench IN MEMORY OF MRS B …
(the rest's scratched out) was placed
by neighbours at her favourite spot
where, over a lifetime, she enjoyed this scene.
Mrs B chose well, A glance downstream
widens—tidal—towards some huge beyond
while, inland, misty intimate waters
‘quietly hoard the sun's last gleam’.
Mrs B has grown into the landscape,
The elements are made personal here.
There's a pier (closed in winter), a tree-
lined towpath, boats
abandoned in mid-stream. (Up close
a cormorant gulps down eels.) Mrs B
is everywhere … the surrounding scene
as much her memorial as this weathered seat
where BOB FUKS MARLENE in penknife prose
and where other travellers, earthed in passing,
fleetingly share her point of view.