Does water remember
as I make my way across her
on this diagonal again?

I clear a wake,
paddles’ light splashes,
this side, then the other.

She self-heals
in a moment or two,
yet I wake-splash on.

Tomorrow it will be the same –
me launching out,
she self-healing.

I like to think
she takes a history down
as the ancient scholars would

and passes it to the next paddler
on this path
if ever that should come to pass,

and if never,
recalls my wake-splashes
as a gift

she could not hold
any other way
but in memory.

Inspired by Ian Stephen’s line (which is the title of this poem) quoted in Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways.