Even now, women bend to rivers,
Or to wells; they scoop up life and offer it
To blistered cooking-ports. Heavy with light,
and the brief mosaics of the world,
Water is carried home. Even now,
Women bend to see themselves in rivers
Or catch unsteady faces in buckets drawn
From wells. and water sucks them in,
Catching the wild geometry of the sould
Tossing it onto a plane. The wells
Are brimming with women's fluid faces;
The rivers are alive with women's hands.
Reflections savoured for a while, then gone.
From up here, what can I know of water?
I catch it tamed from metal spouts encased
In quiet glass, contoured in porcelain.
I compartmentalize the beast in ice,
Then serve it, grinning, to distant friends.
What do I know of water? Tomorrow
I mist go again to find it. I will swim
In rivers thick with time, permanent as eyes
Of sleepy crocodiles. I will watch women
In slow genuflections* ease water
Into round bowls. The river-blinded boys
Will look at me. Children will jump from element
To element making paths through air to water,
Shooting diamond-drops along trajectories
Too long for me to measure. "This is water,"
A new baptism free of metaphor
Will be mine. Water will be water,
And I, a newly-evolved fish, will hear
The aquabatic rippling of gills.
*genuflection: bending of the knee in respect
Lucinda Roy in Daughters of Africa (1992)