A LONG CRUISE DOWN THE RHINE

‘Twas on the ninth of April – the year was Seventeen
Departed Amsterdam in river-bound machine
A water babe all steely power’d and beautiful of line
Luxurious and comf’table and totally refined.
All along the east canal – away into the dark
Traversing locks and levels with ne’er a cross remark.
By early light we found ourselves in Nijmegen town
A market stretching end to end – both up the street and down.
Old weighing-hall still standing there, majestic and attendant.
Museum of art and artefacts abundant yet resplendent.
Here Valkov Castle proudly sits; despite beyond restore.
Beleaguered bridge a testament of long-fought hateful war.
Now headed for Cologne, of fine twin-spired acclaim,
Of golden-covered-chocolate and perfumed-water fame.
Then on along to Bonn, in happy disposition.
Two thousand years of history and famous composition
Open up their arms to us in celebrated ways,
But soon enough continuing along our scheduled phase…
Koblenz, a lovely confluence, with cable flying high
To Ehrenbreitstein; Stolzenfels – cool waters gliding by.
The gorge ahead, the river speeds, its depth increases too.
The Lorelei is waiting; let’s hope it’s not for you!
Music-making Rudesheim the next place on the list.
Water-life in myriads enjoy the morning mist.
And overnight to Strasbourg, in battle-worn Alsace.
A pretty town, an island, by its sacred house we pass.
Church and fortress neighbours dwell contented side by side.
Driving now through tree-lined streets where many storks abide
And hereon in to Briesach; over land to Riquewihr,
Past mile on mile of vineyards to a place of wine and cheer.
Returning then to Father Rhine, who’s waiting for his load.
Mooring up at Mannheim; on Heidelberg bestowed.
The way to reach the citadel? Funicular or no?
A wander round the little fort until it’s time to go.
Then Mainz, a place of interest, the home of printing press
And sandstone-red cathedral in medieval dress.
Not last nor least – Boppard town  – all in the pelting rain.
Umbrella check, our waterproofs – and off we go again.
Finally to Amsterdam – it’s where our story started.
Our trip upon the Rhine has left us very much light-hearted.