The entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal…

I’ve been working on this poem for a while, her is its latest version:

This is the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal…

Look down,
past the lime sprig of buddleia, and the lock gates ajar.
The water is white with the sky
and you could swim through the reflected clouds,
and through the reflection of a metal bridge
a metal bridge carrying 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 unknown builders.

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 surrounds a lamp, a maybe gate to Narnia.

Beyond the Irwell,
the city, glimpsed beneath the metal arms
some feature of the lock gate,
tall and upright – to lift, to turn, to open?

The city beyond,
in the fading distance
has red dim shapes of buildings;
maybe a church,
maybe a  Lowry mill,
maybe now a new hotel.

This is the entrance lock to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal…

© Lois Elsden 2018

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