The Kingfisher

the kingfisher

The Kingfisher perches. He studies.

Escaped from the jeweller’s opium
X-rays the river’s toppling
Tangle of glooms.

Now he’s vanished—into vibrations.
A sudden electric wire, jarred rigid,
Snaps—with a blue flare.

He has left his needle buried in your ear.

Oafish oaks, kneeling, bend over
Dragging with their reflections
For the sunken stones. The Kingfisher
Erupts through the mirror, beak full of ingots,

And is away—cutting the one straight line
Of the raggle-taggle tumbledown river
With a diamond—

Leaves a rainbow splinter sticking in your eye.

Through him, God, whizzing in the sun,
Glimpses the angler.

Through him, God
Marries a pit
Of fishy mire.

And look! He’s
—gone again.
Spark, sapphire, refracted
From beyond water
Shivering the spine of the river.

Ted Hughes

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