Boomslang Poetry

Eel Road

Early autumn; with their osier hives baited,
the women tough it down the muddied lane

to the spot where crying willows sip.
From the skiff they reach for angled grigs

that have trapped returning eels, all silver now,
adding them to barrels for the rough road.

Tomorrow’s capital pye and jelly does not need
to survive out of water for long.

For their own suppers they eat
the catch of their children’s babbing.

* * *

In another place, the living national treasure
hums to himself as he weaves

a bamboo basket. Sitting cross-legged on
the floor of the moon-viewing pavilion,

he explains the design differences between
each container and its intended use.

“This one” he says “is for trapping eels,
which cannot swim backwards”.