A modern-day spell against the darkness

The Poetry Society in association with the Canal & River Trust have commissioned a new poem by Hebden Bridge poet Ian Humphreys.  Ian’s poem – ‘Treading Water’ – is a tender elegy for his mum, set near where he lives alongside the Rochdale Canal.

He says ‘The poem describes a walk we went on a few years ago, before mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I wanted to capture a joyful time, to reflect on the healing power of nature, and to forge memories, through snapshot-like imagery and repetition; a modern-day spell against the urge to slip too deeply into darkness. A key theme is how no journey is a straight line – canals meander more than we imagine. Another is rebirth and hope – the Rochdale Canal’s historical journey has been unpredictable, from industrial innovation to dumping ground to nature sanctuary.’

You can read ‘Treading Water’, Ian’s new poem here and listen to him reading it on The Poetry Society’s Waterlines website

Ian Humphreys’ work is widely published in journals including The Poetry Review, and he is a recipient of the Hamish Canham Prize. His debut collection Zebra was published last year with Nine Arches Press. More at www.ianhumphreyspoet.com

Waterlines is a collaboration between the Canal & River Trust and The Poetry Society, where you can discover new poetry inspired by our waterways.

25 September 2020