La Petite Maine

Ruth Asch

Gushing down the weir, unwearied wave
Flings the quaint old mill a sparkling glance;         
Hushing noise whirls round the sounding spell: 
A glassy plain is spun like sorcery                             
To creamy lava, seething ivory.

Brighter than the foam, across the strait,
Gold, green, blazons sweep the falling time;                 
Lacery of crosses, veil immaculate,   
Adorns for brides the convent’s final bed.
Trees of shadow sorrow overhead.                     

Silent mirror pools, so calmly clear,
Repeat a dream-blue heaven of liquid air;
Mosaic of floating catkin’s stippled curls                           
Frames the lofty poplars’ airy grace,                            
Garnet strands and amber twine embrace.

Casting off finesse of borrowed plumes,                                  
Solemnly the river world reflects;    
Inward looks, where creeping creatures grow;           
Water powdered with applish tinted bloom
Throws galaxies about its native gloom.

Downstream spreads the verdant wing of death:
Stifling quilt of vivifying green;
Lonely, meditative rippling depths
Breathe in concert with the quiet sky;                             
Precious draughts the drowning realm supply.   

Author's Note: 'La Petite Maine' is a tributary to the Maine in the Vendée, France.

In the low laying land where I knew it, in summer the flow of the river would lessen until in certain stretches it seemed to stand still and a bright green veil of weed spread over its surface until the level rose and the stream grew active again. This is what is referred to in the final stanza.

Main Location:

La Maine, France

Mist on the River Maine in France