The Water Carrier

Our summer house was near a cliff; the sea in front and fields behind.
Long days to swim and talk, as best friends do, of private things.
Each year we reached more distant rocks
And ventured further out to sea
Like mermaids
With our straggly hair.

Unworldly girls, wild as the waves and guileless in our idyll
Our eyes were shocked when
In the haze across the field
A man appeared
A naked man
A naked man carrying two buckets….

“A man! There’s a man!” we gasped
Panting after flight.
Shock on my parents’ faces as we caught our breath
My friend and me.

“What’s happened? Are you hurt? Where have you been?”
“SPEAK!” they cried
Whilst we sat shaking, looking at each other, biting lips
My friend and me.

We told our tale; my father ran to see this apparition;
My mother did what’s done at such a time –
Made tea.
When he returned, his cool and strong demeanour calmed us down –
My mother and my friend and me.

“Ah sure ‘twas just Aquarius, the water carrier, minding his own business”   
He said.
“He means no harm but worships Nature as some do.
He’d lost his way from fetching water -
But I showed him right.”

No guard was called nor fuss incurred
And life returned to normal.
Yet all that summer
Two unblinkered girls glanced ‘cross the field,
Half-nervous, half-excited should we see Aquarius once more.

But he had gone,
Never to be seen again.

- Carole Stafford, Harston

photo from,  free images

photo from, free images