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The North Esk is heading for Musselburgh,
The Fal for the blue respite of the Carrick Roads,
without haste the Thames is making for Tilbury,
and the Nile, from her headstream
as the Lovironzo branch of the Kagera
to her splendour in Egypt, is off
to that shopaholic, the Med;
but the Humber drags himself
towards the hard-faced cold North Sea;
the Severn descends from her perfect hills
into the loving arms of the Bristol Channel,
as does the ever-loving Avon,
while the Tamar slips unnoticed
into Plymouth Sound -
leaving the oldest city in Japan,
the Basho saddens into the Sea of Haiku,
and through ice, frost and snow
the Yenisei struggles towards the Kara Coast,
and the Alma can’t get
the Crimean War out of his head;
the Seine grabs the Yone, the Marne and the Oise
by their neck-scruffs, to slum it
in the English Channel,
as that peasant rebel the Vendée
bolts for the Bay of Biscay;
the Ouse, the Yare
and the  Waveney splash into the Wash
without a care in the  world;
only the Danube is big enough
to make a difference to the  Black Sea;
Poppa Rhine also proceeds to the North Sea,
majestic and wise,
shepherding before him the Neckar,
the Maine, the Moselle and Ruhr,
the Ijssel,  the  Lek and the Waal,
the Meuse and the  Scheldt -
what a river!
Solitary and serene, the Po
follows his long tarnished shadow
to the Adriatic shore
and the green Mekong plays down
its cloudbursts, approaching the Yellow Sea...

Rivers, o rivers

Did I forget you, Ganges,
Whose opulent delta blesses the Bay of Bengal?

Did I forget you, Tigris and Euphrates,
who marry in the broken hills
above Basra
and upon whose banks stand Mosul
and Baghad,
rivers bearing time on their backs,
whose waters swell the  blood-seas of history,
whose tides trounce the moon?

Did I forget you,
Euphrates, Tigris?