In the lead-up to Saltaire Festival, our River Aire has been inspiring poets.
The competition, with the theme of ‘The World in Saltaire’, attracted entries from across the country and from poets of all ages.
The winning poems have been published in the latest edition of the Saltaire Review and will be on the BBC Big Screen in City Park, Bradford, later in the summer.
The winning poets have been invited to read at the Festival poetry event on 11th September at the Dandelion Café, where Sharena Satti’s poetry will also be featured.
The winner of the Adult class was Mark Batty and I quote his winning poem here with his permission.
The Aire by Mark Taylor Batty
The rain pleads down over sandstone grassy Dales;
Tight stone walls, cudding sheep, sheer open land.
Space pelted sodden, sheeted grey skyfall,
Rained and soaked, wrung and rinsed downstream
Where becks released from stillness skip gleefully
And all shove down, collude to make the Aire.
The eager rush steadies as it heads around Skipton,
Cutting at the turns, rinsing through low leaves,
Splaying into the depth of the valley,
Playing in brief eddies to wait and catch up,
Before gliding under the canal aqueduct
To corner and face the home run to Saltaire.
By the bolted boating hut, shift by Hirst mill,
Swish low, stream bold, thick, deep like soup
To the Boathouse Inn, and nonchalant ducks,
Where the heavy river swells like a distended belly
And bloats sated to claim the summer’s shore
Spilling at the path in the park.
The river would kiss the canal here by the thin green bridge,
Were it not for the pub, a gooseberry in between.
The mill then shouldering the canal away to Shipley
The river veering to roar its claim over the weir,
And farewell down dirty to Otley Road bridge.
Then confidently on to beat that canal to Leeds.
©Mark Taylor-Batty 2018