Through dark centuries they washed the wool here
in the iron brown river, combing out burrs
and thorns hooked into the Rough Fell coats.
The Wharfe worked the wheel by raging
against impediments, hurling its back onto the stones,
rocking the little bridge and bringing terrors to me
watching in my wellingtons at five years old;
our daughter, too, still has nightmares
about childhood picnics nearby. But Ella
in her pink mac in the rain, wind, flood,
the gush and the rush, shrieks with delight as small trout
pirhouette upstream from one silent pool to the other
towards the flat scum of the millpond above,
breathlessly, in joy, at dancing against the odds.