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A Chance Encounter

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Cycling in heavy rain, as I love to do,
Dipping down past the coal washery’s flue,
When faint from out the old canals weeds
Came softest squeaking among tall-grown reeds.

Alighting, I drew more warily near
Wondering at what creature I could hear
When stole out this otter on whose last cry
Up came her young breaking water close by.

Pacing half-breathed along watery shrubs
Following downstream proud mother and cubs,
When sudden all three purling ripples in tow
Were gone from view, slinking to depths below.



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