I wrote about a picture taken by my friend Andrew Simpson, in a way it was a simple picture, taken from a bridge over the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Ship Canal between the canal and the River Irwell, looking north towards Salford. I have been slightly haunted by this image, and I have been jotting some ideas for a piece of writing, maybe a poem, maybe not, maybe something a friend calls euphonic writing. I don’t think it is euphonic, it is exploring the image which is overlaid by thoughts, memories, imaginings, irrelevant connections which are only connections in my mind – probably not anyone else’s! This is a really rough first draft!
This is the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal…
Look down, past the lime sprig of buddleia, and the lock gates are ajar. The water is white with the sky and you could swim through the reflected clouds, and through the reflection of a metal bridge carrying a pipeline, swim through into the water beyond, the Irwell.
This is the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal… the so-called forgotten canal; If you walk over the bridge, in either direction, you descend to a path, towards the river, The edge of the lock, is now punctuated by posts, link-chained. The water could be ice, reflecting like a mirror the pipe-line bridge, power cables unseen except on the surface of the lock.
It has hidden depths, in many ways; its history not remembered, its workers long forgotten, its builders who even were they?
What lies beneath, who knows.
The image is bordered by autumn trees, maybe a birch, golden and green, maybe a pine, dark, its branches lifting in praise or surrender, and beneath, wild foliage, surrounding a lamp, maybe a gate to Narnia.
Beyond the Irwell, the city, glimpsed beneath the metal arms of some feature of the lock gate, a tall upright structure, to lift, to turn, to open? The city beyond, in the fading distance has the dim red shapes of buildings, maybe a church, maybe a Lowryesque mill, maybe now a modern hotel Imagination can make of it anything!
This is the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal..
© Lois Elsden 2018
Picture credit and copyright © Andrew Simpson 2018
Here is a link to a really interesting page about the canal, and with loads of pictures:
…and here again is Andrew’s blog: