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Canoes on the Dordogne by John Arnold

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CANOES ON THE DORDOGNE
after a painting by Alice Boggis-Rolfe

I’m transported twenty years upstream,
back to that carefree glide,
the Mistral Blanc breathing on our skin:

a body fit for Speedos,
a smiling wife who paddled topless
and daughters eager for the new;

the weightless drift upon a warm flow,
inches deep; then lazing on the bank –
vin rouge, fromage, baguettes…

But now, another vantage point:
a high hill. A rural landscape’s summer doze.
The young ones are distant:

their canoes, small as pond skaters,
float between the flawless planes
of water and Perigord sky.

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John Arnold was born in London in 1951. He is a retired town planner who lives with his wife in East Sussex . He has two grown up daughters and three granddaughters. His poems have been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio. He is a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society.

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