Ball Street Bridge
Past the cutlers, halfway over the Don
I stop to watch the river’s dull pewter
slow-shimmy the strait, grinding stone,
cutting shingle. Mallards perch the weir
sloped in water-gush and slugs of rain
like dregs of Kelham Ale. I envy their grit,
webbed roots dug down against the braid
of ore-heavy stream, a quiet unshifting.
With moonrise, light pivots as it fails.
The suds beneath glint with gudgeon
and coltsfoot smoulders the watery soil,
yellows the banks like fire. I want to learn
this knack of standing still while headwaters,
washing past, whittle rocks to quartz.
From Angelina Ayers’ sequence The Strait in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing. The Strait is the second sequence in The Footing. Listen to Angelina Ayers reading this poem on location near Ball Street Bridge, Sheffield: