Written in the Tanat Valley
Walking beside a Welsh river
a flash of dark caught my sight
It could have been a kingfisher
but I saw no streak of blue
It could have been a wagtail
but its flight was to direct
Perhaps it was the elusive dipper
that I had hunted many summers
On Dartmoor, as a boy
we had sought it down the rocky streams
In Northumberland I thought I glimpsed it once
upstream, a brown shape on a distant rock
And many times rivers looked perfect habitats
in these wild and distant hills
But never once had I been sure
although I returned the same way many times
Peering through bushes I had seen no sight
scanning fast water, I could see nothing.
We wandered on,
over the grassy bank
And wandered back
returning the same way, once again
And a flash
I stooped and scanned
A brown shape huddled on the water
and turning, the white breast, shining.
I had returned, without expectation
and suddenly the dipper had shown himself to me
True, he is no rarity
no tick in a twitchers notebook
But I had returned
returned once more
And returning, returning, returning
had found my heart's desire.