Nancy Campbell spent a year travelling the 2,000 miles of the UK’s waterways on foot, bicycle and by kayak, writing as she went. As poet, and Canal Laureate, she was able to draw on wide-ranging experience of conservation and climate science in Switzerland, Iceland and Arctic Greenland.
And so her startling poems emerge from the elements—air, fire, earth and water—bringing with them fireworks, melody, consolation, and love.
—i.m. Jo Cox m p, 16 June, 2016
A chill came into the air. Somebody shivered,
somebody frowned. A whisper passed over the lake.
The rain needled our faces. Then the spatter,
the speed of each drop forcing up bubbles:
rising, and bursting, rising and bursting.
All day, clouds have obscured the sun.
Even the silver willows on the far shore
are greyed-out now by a veil of rain.
Moorhens swim to reed beds for shelter;
in the summerhouse we wait out the storm.
The world feels very close. Everything calm.
Slowly the voices on the radio quieten down
and still the water seethes. We know that rain
won’t wash the lake away, but makes it deeper.