where every inch, every insect has its dream –
once a trickle, then a steady weight of stream
where the Derwent silver ribbon winds, currents
wrinkle round rocks, big-bellied perch hide.
Fishermen watch for chain-mailed bream
in pools, tiny splashes, circles, ripples spread
like lunar ideas by the light of the mind.
where the river sweeps, through steep and slope,
through gash of gorges, lush of dales
that rose like sleeping giants from raging seas.
Here people live, and sharp-eyed slender stoat,
frisky deer strut through trees, woodpeckers
bash-tap-tap above bluebells and wood anemones
in Maytime groves of ash and oak.
where smoke drifts into Derbyshire skies,
fothers of dull lead are smelted, and shiny otters
hear the hammer’s clamour from the quarry;
early querns and burly millers, the sweat of tillers
in stripfields, the jigsaw fit of dry stone walls.
Between the limestone and the grit, forces fuse
fine minds, first machines, the power of water.
where mill-races rush, millwheels turn
day and night, the working week begins, the toll
of the mill-bell, the new money spell, leather’s hum,
bobbin and spindle, whirring and clatter,
stroke of the mule, where long hours rule.
Where King Cotton spins, candles flicker
and change us forever.
where first factories, early engines thrum,
steam billows through leafy tracks and trails,
the mighty threesome, road, canal and rail.
Brave new worlds, with social systems
with a cost – wage-slip and boss, who pays
for school, and holiday – that paves the way
for freedoms lost to kind, unkind conditions.
where industry grows, and people come to wonder
at the mills, the bluestone, the Grand Tour landscape,
how the vision meets the view, from the castle window
the tailored nature of the estate. The river garden,
the park, where we work and walk, eat ice-cream,
fathom old worlds to fashion new, learn from the now.
Where a heron stands, on one leg, in the stream.
where butterfly-time ticks fast, willow-time slow.
The river, come so far, always so far to go,
flows into the future, looks to us for care.
This valley is mine, says the factory owner,
says the wild garlic, the tourist, the hoppity rabbit.
This valley is ours, whispers the river,
we are all in this valley together.
where we hurry, scurry, where we must listen
to each other, where in one day the rain can fall
and the swirling beast fill, swell and roar,
far mightier than mills, tip over dams, weirs,
topple tables, crash through walls, like warning calls.
Listen to the river’s gurgle, giggle, silk chatter
over the redds, the bed where crayfish crawl.
where we know all we need to, but we
must act with heart, take part, be Derwent wise
for all the lives in field and wood, we know
we have to, know we could, take more time,
more care, for common good, for water, air,
for the northern hairy wood-ant, for rare
feather-moss, for every moment, every bud.
grand and green, where ten billion creatures
survive their lives, where wild boar roamed,
a scene grown to grandeur, a home, where
beyond all we have created, something greater
breathes inside this animal of river;
nature’s scheme, some greater dream
where we are…a glimmer…
Matt Black website