There is always the Wharfe’s wild-souled water under
this great bridge,
though it floods deep only at the height of winter
and normally there are plenty of ducks.
And see how the weir to the right rushes
even in an insect-thick summer!
And the salmon surmount the leap in their season.
But once there must have been only one span,
whether for those upon great journeys,
or the carts, or flocks bound for Market.
And on that ancient structure young Thomas Fairfax,
not to mention two of his men
contended against Royalists
who had jangled through the dark from York
and was nearly dead three years before Naseby.
But it is not for Thomas Fairfax that the goddess Victory
perches on top of this modern bridge
over water rushing like Acheron. No, that is for
the unlikely warriors of this little place
in a greater war, which now begins to fade.