Prologue to a Traipsing
I stand, conduit with the flowing
road that runs down from Stanage,
out of the mass-trespassed moors.
Above Ringinglow I watch as the
dark tar river issues into wet yet
rapidly sun-burnished Sheffield.
I stand, conduit, to expectancy,
of a wandering, a gritty itinerancy,
tramping the damp road, mirroring
the flow of my near sixty years,
the city filling my wind glossed sight
ready to enter an unsteady future.
I stand, conduit at a confluence,
the deep seams of ore and ire,
my history in factory shutting Sheffield
and Maltby, striking pit, pounded,
distant in time and view from here,
moribund hinterland to steel’s grave.
I stand, conduit to uncertainty
boxed in by old streets echoing,
seeking a way to walk the city,
to write the pages of present days,
pad blank with unknowing, a loosener
for tongues tied up by being ignored.
I stand, conduit to make a start,
more than a maudlin requiem,
or a sad and mawkish oration,
well packed with an ear-shine
of listening, walking on to meet
the newly arrived and the left behind.
I stand, conduit to a troubled hope,
in search of the sliders who slip
between marrow and bone, those
whose viscous honesty and
anarchic incursions rupture all
that tight-limbed electoral thinking.
I stand, conduit to these first steps,
to tread the valley riven streets with
fresh boots, the peak’s rain whetting
my resolve to walk a poetry of traipsing,
to write a flow of treading; to transcribe
tough, the unalloyed lines of a retold city.