Poems to share

If it were dry, the thread would snap

Of course it rains: it siles. It buckets down,
chucks down cats and dogs and stair-rods
to fill our becks and brooks, dykes, sykes, and cloughs
with waters soft enough for washing cotton
and fast enough to power the mills that wove it.
Our rivers are the engine that drives the past
into the present – but channelled into concrete,
fed sewage, junk and chemicals they can’t digest,
they’d drift lifeless to their future

so we’re clearing them of cans, plastic wrappers,
slime and stink; we’re releasing the Roddlesworth
from its underworld culvert into pools and riffles
and sunlight; we’re building fish-passes round weirs
for the eels, chub and trout (and tiny creatures
with Latin names); we’re balsam-bashing
so water blobs and red sally flourish – and willing
the electric blue flash of your imagination
to appear, there! darting from the bank

of the Lune, the Ribble, Conder and Wyre
the Roeburn and Hindburn, the Loud and the Tawd
the Darwen, the Douglas, Laneshaw, Keer
and the Don, Brun, Chor, Brock and Greta,
the river Calder and the other Calder
and the Hyndburn with a Y, the Irwell,
Ogden and Wenning, Dunsop and Hodder
Blakewater, Cocker, Lostock and Grizedale
Yarrow and Spodden     and Roddlesworth

© Jane Routh

Jane Routh

Jane Routh has published four collections and several poetry pamphlets. She won the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition with Circumnavigation, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Teach Yourself Mapmaking was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The title poem of The Gift of Boats won the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and in 2011 she won the Strokestown International Poetry Competition.
Jane contributes articles and reviews to several journals and has also published a prose book, Falling into Place, on wildlife, weather and work in the rural area where she lives in north Lancashire, managing ancient and new woodlands. Her new collection (November 2018) is Listening to the Night.