Duncan Forbes

One Afternoon

In Aljezur we took a walk
And paused above the river where,
Among the rushes, swifts and fish,
We saw a water-snake drink the air
Before the reptile rippled back
And watched until an azure flash
Flew from the bridge to walnut tree,
A kingfisher in sudden flight,
A memorised epiphany
Almost before it came and went,
Electric blue and heaven-sent,
To fish and feed downriver where
The sailing vessels once had moved
Beside the town of Aljezur.

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