The Severn Bore brings thoughts of ducks, Brexit & do-se-do

I went on my regular pilgrimage to the banks of the Severn today, to view the bore. Only a ** prediction today, but it was probably a -*

With lots of Monday-thoughts on my mind, I observed the activity on, and in, the river. There have been duck shooters there recently and local people are upset by it. I mention the ducks, and the role they play in warning of the waves arrival, in my upcoming book, An Artist’s View of The River Severn:

Switch your clock back to the now and breathe in the pungent smell of the elderflower ripening in nearby hedgerows, or the brambles plumping up in tangled masses like unruly hair. They have always been there and will return every year, long after we have gone.

Notice the ducks as they gather anxiously, awaiting the arrival of the bore from stage right. They navigate the turbulent currents that begin to form, at one with the water they glide on. Across the river, stage left, some of their human equivalents flip-flap onto the mud-flats. Dressed in tight black wetsuits, carrying huge surf boards, they enter the riverbed from both banks. Audiences line up on either side with anticipation, all eyes turned seaward, waiting. In the quietness, the lull before the storm, you might catch the sound of the village clock chiming in the High Street, then, seconds later, the bells of St. Peter’s follow. Time is proven to stand still in Newnham, if only for a split second……..


The herons elegantly wait, upright, alert

No large wave today

Few fish swept in for breakfast

A sole surfer

Returns to the bank

With head bowed low


The ducks wing back

In twos and threes

Safe, behind the cliff

Grateful to have survived their flight


By shooters


Meanwhile, the tide curves in

To meet the river

On its way down to the sea

They do-se-do

Approach, then circle

Back to back

To their original positions


Ripples shift around each other

Jostling for their right

To do what they must do

The leavers seek to move forward

Halt the tide of immigrants


Forgetting the purpose of the EU

To keep this island safe

From encroachment

And war

The remainers hope to turn back the clock


The sandbanks begin to disappear

Flooding overcomes them

The bore returns

Again and again


Same water

Different direction

Mixing momentarily

Then continuing on their way

Like people


Whirlpools are forming

In this world

Under the surface

A vortex

Of hate

Drags us down










Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

One thought on “The Severn Bore brings thoughts of ducks, Brexit & do-se-do

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: