Written as part of the Places of Poetry project and first published on The Clearing, poet Isabel Galleymore, wrote this poem inspired by the Severn’s upper reaches.
This water is like a long tail, swishing.
This water is running wild and WARNING:
DO NOT PROCEED then walking
like a dog beside its owner. This water
tumbles, twistles STOP! tumbles,
twistles AT THE LOCKKEEPER’S
DISCRETION and busies itself
with water-breathers who are busy themselves;
some feeding, some resting, some trying
to swim upstream to release DO NOT
OPERATE THE LOCK YOURSELF
some trying to swim upstream to release
their small, translucent eggs. This water
tumbles NO ENTRY this water is busy
with fish trying to DANGER! WEIR!
trying to swim upstream… Gentle rebels
in the water’s mud-swish and crystal
ON GREEN YOU MAY PROCEED.
About Places of Poetry
Places of Poetry is a project which aims to use creative writing to prompt reflection about national and cultural identities by inviting contributions to the website placesofpoetry.org.uk. The project is open to all.
Isabel Galleymore’s debut pamphlet, Dazzle Ship, was published by Worple Press in 2014 and her work has featured in magazines including Poetry, the London Review of Books and New Poetries VII. Significant Other, published this year, has been shortlisted for the Forward’s Felix Dennis Prize for a first collection. In 2016 she was a poet-in-residence at the Tambopata Research Centre in the Amazon rainforest. She teaches at the University of Birmingham.