Caught by the River

Hey, Who Really Cares? – a poem by Martha Sprackland

Martha Sprackland | 11th January 2017

after the song by Linda Perhacs & Oliver Nelson

Birds in the wire cage of an open shop
singing of grated tin and rusted wind.
When the city turns it turns into a dream
of water, all the red dust turned to blue.

The thing is, I walk past this chalk graffiti
so often I now answer to that name –
I’ve been belonging somewhere else,
maybe here, since the city turned.

It’s been coming down a long time.
Dust settles at the season’s end, dust
that covers and seals a cut. I used to think
only in terms of Friday, late night light,

of dancing through the season’s end and out
the other side, through the open shop door,
through dreams of water. These changes
seem to sing like rust, red dust, a gate

or hinge slowly eased. We come full circle.
The city, always listening, is asleep now
to the birds, to the sound of powder falling
on a blue street. That word, that new name

can I bring it out to you? Now that the city
is in its dream, I need to talk, to talk, to talk.

Martha Sprackland will read at our afternoon of poetry and prose at Machpelah Mill, Hebden Bridge, on Saturday 21 January. More info/tickets here.