by Jo Bell
Staffordshire and Worcester Canal
The cut is working water. Straightened,
straitened, boxed and sluiced; contained
and discontent. Worrying at banks,
whitening the heels of boats.
All day it’s run from lock to weir, from weir
to pound. It earns its rest by evening,
dawdles through a leaking lock;
puts up a weary bubble, iris-cool.
Now it kicks off muddy boots;
a worker done with work.
It breathes out ozone, laundry-sweet
and ruffles sedge and vetch,
idly spins a swan. What it does
is not so simple as stilling the mind.