Norman Bissett

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting: a poem Whitewater Rafting Bone-domed, wet-suited, that New Zealand day, six of us in a dinghy diced with death. Twenty-five rapids made us hold our breath. The snowmelt river took our breath away. Eleven miles of turbulent, freezing foam, floodwaters from the glacial Southern Alps with granite canyon walls threatening thin scalps —


Footsore, like the Assyrians of oldas ravenous as wolves, we left the hillbright-eyed, invigorated by the cold,clean mountain air of which we’d drunk our filland slept on the train home from Ballater.Twenty-eight miles we’d walked to Lochnagarand back, following the burbling watersof the Muick, the summit one grand hurrah.That night we fell like two starving


A limp soft-soaper, he wouldn’t say Booto a goose. Cautiously neutral, he triedemollience, thereby creating genocide —the massacre of the Tutsis by the Hutus. He similarly failed in Bosniawhere Unprofor, the UN mission, vetoedthe use of airstrikes to save Srebrenica.Now twenty thousand slain lie incognito’d. But from these holocausts was nothing learnt?Not in Darfur, whose


The stripy blazer doesn’t match the pants belonging to his suit, the Hush Puppies worn for comfort, the rain mac — once his aunt’s — tied by a length of string. Chelsea yuppies mistake him for a shuffling derelict on the Embankment, where he hums and sings Cole Porter and recites some lines he’s picked