Canal Sounds

May 23, 2007

Like a plane taking off, or the
white water rushing crash
of open waves at sea.

Like standing on the
top deck of an open liner.

Like hearing the sound of silence
amplified – or the static on a TV.

This is what it sounds like-
but it is spelt differently…

It is spelt as a 3 stepped weir-
or a mini waterfall
in several regular parts-

gushing and humming and
singing to itself like a
washer woman-
scrubbing and rasping
at the surface of rocks.

This sound-
like a ship or a plane or a
poltegeist, dominates all others-
but there are others
stirring beneath it.

There is birdsong-
whistling and whooping and chiruping –
sounds swimming all together,
like birds going mad,
like birds against the world,
birds against the water – birds
fighting it out – and yet
there is still more-

there is the barely there breath
of the air, languid in summer
and only just heard by the
unstirred grass
and there are cars-

There are cars
roaring in the distance
and almost sounding like the water
with their loud crashing silence –
with their low down moan
that is almost the sound
of a hurricane- but these
are spelt differently.

Heard and not seen
these are just for once
far from here.

They are like turtles in the city-
turtles cannot fly
and cars cannot swim.

5 Responses to “Canal Sounds”

  1. Paul Knopfler said

    The most wasted of days is that on wich one has not read a poem.
    I did my job reading yours. It’s beautiful.

  2. Thanks so much – it’s just the first draft, but so lovely to hear positive feedback. Do you have a blog?

  3. Clay Lowe said

    Hi Lydia,

    Just wanted to say hi and to let you know that I have been enjoying your blog. In case you don’t remember me, I am one of the poets from Leamington Spa who came across to Word a few weeks back. I dig both your poetry and your prose.


  4. Clay Lowe said

    Hi again Lydia, I just lost you comment in the comment spam filter. Any chance you could re-post it. I’ll be more careful this time, I promise 🙂


  5. Won’t be the same comment, as can’t remember exactly what I said – but I’ll have a go…

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