Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Canal tells you stories.

Canal Life by  Ian McMillan

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs
They hang in that space
Between memory and water


Once saw a narrowboat raised up,
Like it was cutting through the air,
Between two grass walls and the road below
Like it was sliding through history,
And a tiny vole swam across the water
So a tiny vole swam through history.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs


Once saw a man floating belly up in a canal
Like he was in the bath. He shouted
‘This is the life’ as I passed by on a narrowboat;
The sky was reflected in the surface
And we tied up in the places the map never showed us,
The man floating by, making ripples on the surface.

They hang in that space
Between memory and water
 
Once got waved at by a jogger as I stood gongoozling
On the towpath; her running gave rhythm
To the early afternoon, dog-strollers and kids
Who’d rather be here than sitting in school.
To gongoozle is to stand and watch narrowboats pass
And a canal is a lesson, a water-based school.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs


Once these canals were information highways
If coal and iron can be information,
And I think they can be. And there are bridges,
Pub gardens, the laughter of children
As they walk by the water; and the canals
Turn us all into curious children.

They hang in that space
Between memory and water


Once is never enough for a canal, I reckon;
You need to go back and see it again,
And sail it again, and smell it again, and
Touch it again; canals run through our veins
Like they stroll through this country
Like blood through our veins.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs
They hang in that space
Between memory and water



Dowley Gap, Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Dowley Gap, Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Dowley Gap, Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Dowley Gap, Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Saltaire Reform Church reflection

Hirst Wood Lock

Hirst Wood

Towpath View

Towpath View

Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Ducks at Doeley Gap

Wider views at Harlow Carr RHS Garden, Harrogate

Some more photos of my afternoon at Harlow Carr RHS Gardens in Harrogate. The last set were mainly close ups of the flowers whilst this set ...