I want to sink bells into the pond.
Plant them just below the waterline,
where the ripples look like scales
lifting out of the shallows slowly
on the back of an endless snake.
Then at night when the moon lifts,
turns her face to watch,
I’ll slip out onto the decking,
strip down to my silver skin.
Drop like a stone or a witch
into the quiet cold of a place
not quite what I wish of it.
Wonder as the bells ring out
if anyone else may be listening.
There’s a lot of Shropshire Folklore about women and water. The River Severn is often characterised as female, and there are tales of women (or women-like creatures) inhabiting lakes and ponds. Another image in Shropshire folk tales, is that of church bells falling into water and being lost forever, but the sound of their ringing being heard at night.
I’ve always been in love with myths and legends, but more often than not it was the classic Greek, Egyptian, and Norse myths that I turned to as a child. More recently I started to look into the tales from my native county, and one of the poems in my collection was inspired by this research. During the lockdown I’ve been trying to read more books to keep myself occupied. I ended up purchasing ‘Shropshire Folk Tales’ by Amy Douglas. The one off poem on Shropshire Folklore that I included in my collection now looks like it might grow into something more.