The Water Doesn’t Move, The Past Does

by Ian McMillan

Sun lights this water like it lit
Those forests that became that coal that
Lit that place, drove that place
That made this aqueduct, lit

Like memory is lit. Listen:
The Aqueduct is speaking, is wanting
To speak to us all. Put your ear
Close to the aqueduct and listen:

I was built to hold water in air.
I was built to make water fly.
I was built with iron and love.
I was built from history’s flow.

The aqueduct speaks
In the voice of round here: vowels
Flattened by hammers, words
Shortened like collier’s breath,

And the aqueduct bridges now
And then; all the coal it ever carried
Burning in the sky like the sun does:
I was built to hold water in air.

I was built to make water fly.
Stanley Ferry, name that could be
A man who made this place
I was built from iron and love

Name that ripples through centuries
Like a dropped raindrop ripples
I was built to hold water in air.
The water doesn’t move: the past does.