Here, in this fold of land, this dew pond lies
As it has lain since ice and melt drew back
To barren Northern hills and younger skies,
Before the trees, before the fields or track.
What lurks below it’s surface none can tell,
The skulls of monstrous creatures long extinct?
No curious eyes shall break its eerie spell,
Life’s mysteries and commons all are linked.
In drought or flood it’s banks are slow to spill,
Its waters shun the sun with fetid mud
And neither tup nor sheep will drink their fill...
There’s more to this than ancient bone or blood.
Tho’ teeth of crocodile or flint-knapped spears
Lie scabbed with muck—
I’ll not roll back the years.
Most so-called dew ponds in our countryside are not created by dew or precipitation. Even so, some of them are immeasurable old and have existed not just since the last retreat of the ice, but prior to previous ice ages. Before the coming of man, only the scour of a glacier could destroy them. It is true that cattle and sheep often refuse to drink from them, although the water is in no way harmful or poisonous. Nor have I ever seen fish grow fat in them.