Sunday, 13 April 2014

Canal Bank

Canal Bank

It’s  Saturday on the canal bank.
Three city types, hands in suit pockets,
stroll along  the barge path.
Two huddle close together in hot debate,
business bodies turning over life
in finance.
Slightly behind, a straggler, smiles,
head lifted to the bright sunshine.

Head lifted to the bright sunshine,
a student meanders
on the straight length of the canal.
Last night, she made love, all night,
to a complete stranger, without a condom.
She hears the town hall clock,
strike ten .

She hears the town hall clock
strike ten,
as a tweeded, middle aged, thoughtful thinker,
stops and gazes at the chill black water,
reflecting buildings… clouds in the sky.
He purses his lips in anger
at the noises of the traffic.
And walks on alone.

And walks on alone,
passing a woman, a mother linked
arm in arm with her sister,
tagged behind by two boys.
One is alive with wonder,
“How still it is, like time stopping.”

How still it is like time stopping,
for the two fishermen,
flanking the bank,
since six this morning.
They are hopeful, for they caught a pike,
one Saturday on the canal bank.

One Saturday on the canal bank,
head lifted to the bright sunshine,
she hears the town hall clock strike ten,
and walks on alone.
How still it is, like time stopping.


  1. A fascinating cast of characters!
    I'm visiting from NaPoWriMo. Our site is Poetry of the Netherworld.

  2. Reading this made me find my James Elroy Flecker book and reread his 'Oxford Canal'. Do you know it? I like the way he plays with the reflections and turns them into the reality.
    Couldn't find the Fiesta poem you mentioned.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I haven't posted the Fiesta sestina as it doesn't fit with the poems that I've posted. The subject seems to be very much Northern England ... and the new life arising from the dead ...the essence of Spring.