Goitside

They cut the water. Bent it from meanders
to turn mill wheels, beckoned it from the beck
to run a rigid course. Tamed, apparently,

it licked the soot from honey-shaded stones.
Like factory hands, it only stopped in corners
where it could hear no orders, shelter moss.

Today foundations crumble underfoot.
Ahead, security fences take a nap,
loll on their backs and rust. A square,

tilting towards the forgotten goit
and framed by wide-eyed dereliction
might be where magic starts. Shreds of green;

seeds, spores, windblown dust. Roots
tougher than tarmac. One or two summers,
a scatter of thistle. Ragwort. A storm.

Rain runs to this future. Takes blackened spaces
back. Winds sift warehouses to tilth.
Summer grass sways and stretches, conjures gold.

 

• This poem first appeared in The Linnet’s Wings.

 

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