‘Water, water everywhere’.

Water was the subject of this year’s National Poetry Day, inspired by Coleridge’s famous cry “Water,water everywhere”. Talented and acclaimed Caroline Hawkridge is writer- in -residence for one of our clients, the National Aspergillosis Centre, in Manchester.

And to celebrate the theme she has composed a special poem featured here –

heron image

A poem by Caroline Hawkridge






The day began before dawn,
when a computer blip triggered the flood defences
and every set of locks beyond Saltersford
opened their sluices.

Slowly, the sea drank our inland miles of river.
Water gargled here and there,
but otherwise went quietly, unnoticed
by the milkmen of Barnton, Weaverham.

Pairs of early headlights crossed the bridges,
drivers looking straight ahead.

No one saw the river suck its cheeks
or boats pull their moorings like teeth.

Alarms began, one by one, house by house,
but meant nothing – another weekday morning –
until a bent enamel dish full of grain for the hens
clattered from a lock-keeper’s hands.

Narrowboats had kissed thick mud, derailing
geraniums from painted rose-and-castle cans
and scuttles.

White motor boats lay beached,
their bulbous hulls skirted by ducks examining
the river bed.

A wooden dinghy hung in flight,
ropes taut.

A heron stood dwarfed, the last
of the long water running between its toes,
where only daylight silvered.

Caroline Hawkridge.