The Bourne in Verse

THE BOURNE by R. E. Latham

From The Bourne Society Bulletin 84, (May 1976)

(This poem has been read by groups of members meeting at the Mumbles viaduct, whenever the Bourne has been in flood)

Year after year, deep down below,
Its buried waters travel;
Perhaps through goblin mines they flow
Where emeralds and rubies glow,
For stranger sights, I’m sure, they know
Than chalk and gravel.

All of a sudden wearying
Of realms for ever darkened,
Its prisoned waters want their fling;
So onward through the dark they wing
And into daylight gaily spring
At Marden Park end.

And gallant ships are ours that strain
To find by high endeavour
A course through chartless channels plain
To Isles of Spice or Spanish Main,
They may not sail these seas again
Perhaps for ever.

SONNET TO THE BOURNE by David South, 1995

It was upon a most momentous morn,
Whilst visiting such a pleasant quarter,
That I chanced upon Surrey’s River Bourne,
And wondered why it’s dubbed a ‘woe-water’?
Perhaps it, like a loved but flighty daughter,
Has such beauty, but still can chill the blood.
However much the landscape we alter,
Such a temptress can still be known to flood.
But ‘though she covers ev’rywhere with mud,
Such indiscretion’s easy to forgive.
Long on her surface may the wild geese scud,
And by her banks the toad and frog long live.
May her lovely waters man never quell,
But beyond her banks, please God, never swell!

THE BOURNE by Gwyneth Fookes, 1995

Let us celebrate the Bourne.
No longer does it flow and
Gather waters in Croydon
Which lay, unchallenged.
The Bourne, the scurrilous Bourne
Could spread, it created panic
Amongst the poor, their homes
Inundated by the noxious flow.

Now the Bourne barely has
Time to show its face.
It smiles at the Mumbles,
Babbles at Bourne Park
Gurgles round the leeks and sprouts
Is firmly channelled
Then – gulp – it is
Swallowed down a giant pipe.

It is dark, it is restrictive, but
When the waters emerge
In Waddon ponds
They have done no harm
The national concern
That the risen waters
Foretell a national disaster
Is long forgotten.

But do they?
Does the Bourne know?
When havoc is about to be wrought?
Who can tell!
But it need no longer be feared.
Let us celebrate the Bourne.

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