By the Danube, Novi Sad


The city's quiet in the early morning.

Buses glide along at intervals, like ice skaters,

nothing to slow them down.

On the walkway by the river

(mighty Danube keep us safe from danger)

a jogger passes me, and a woman

on the path ahead of me

turns round, walks back the other way.


Further on, a wedge of willow trees

separates the pathway from the river

(mighty Danube, grant safe passage

to our travellers on your waters)

and a slow bird rises up above the foliage,

its black and grey wings carry it to a tall tree

which it circles round, then

heads back to where it came from,

heron dropping down behind

the grey-green willow trees.


I turn around as well

and take a different route to home.

I see a lemon and beige patterned shell

beneath my feet – just in time

before I step on it.

I pick the snail up from the road,

and place it on the earth among the bushes

for a path where humans walk

is not the best location for a snail highway.


Then, underneath Slobode Most flyover,

I reach the pink brick walkways of the park,

cross over to the high-rises and rustling poplars

of my home on Šekspirova.

(Mighty Danube, Protector of insomniacs,

and the woman who turned round,

the wheeling heron, and the errant snail.)

Morelle Smith studied English and French Literature at Edinburgh University (a long time ago); writing and travelling have been the main themes in her life. She has had various jobs, many of them involving teaching adults – subjects have included French, English as a Second Language and Creative Writing. She has also been an aid worker in Albania.

These days Morelle focuses mainly on writing – poetry, travel articles, fiction and translation – and she has had various poems, stories, articles and books published. You can find more of Morelle's poems on these websites: Scottish PENmediterranean poetry and Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two. Her poems have been published in magazines such as Poetry ScotlandPoetry CornwallPoetry MonthlyNew Writing ScotlandThe SalmonCrannog, and Chapman, and in anthologies such as Scottish Literature in the 20th Century and Anthology of Scottish Women Poets. Some of her poems have been translated into French, Albanian, Romanian and Bulgarian. Morelle's blog on writing and travel is rivertrain

Poetry Collections: Deepwater Terminal (Diehard Publishers, 1998); The Way Words Travel (UK Authors Press, 2005); The Ravens and the Lemon Tree (Diehard, 2008) and Gold Tracks, Fallen Fruit (Cestrian Press, 2011).
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