An excerpt from a poem by our client Mike Springate, written after he travelled to the Mekong in 2016.
Mair*mighty Mekong! Mother of all the rivers
That seek the sea through Asia’s Eastern plains.
Mair, river at your wideness flat and calm
Reflects dark tree-lines and a clouding sky.
But when the rocks break up, the river races
And chuckles as she storms through stony places:
Great gush of water, seething through black canyons –
Nature, assaulted, rises, will not cease.
We speed upriver in a long, unstable boat
That lurches side to side. We pass
A painted ship, blue as the sky,
With MCC writ on her stern
Breeze and the spray upon my sunlit face
Remind me that returning to this place
Will be a constant thorn in my desire.
Its sand-banked shores, with long-tailed boats at rest,
Lining below the wood-framed houses in the trees.
Far distant hills, the purple ‘Nipple’ mount –
Or is it ‘Lingam mountain’ – face these shores,
Circle them in a hazy, warm embrace.
There must be fish, for fishermen abound,
Cast nets and recast, without apparent catch.
But birds are rare – one heron on a rock,
A solitary egret at the waterfall,
A scattering of cormorants, little else
Until the sudden passing of their migrant flight
Peppers the setting sun; then birds are done.
By Mike Springate
(‘Mair’ is the term for ‘Mother’ both in Thai and Laotian.
My first ‘Mekong’ poem was written during the 2016
ATS expedition there. This is the second.)