Tuesday, 19 June 2018

City of Poetry

It's quite a steep walk up to the city centre from Sheffield's railway station, but the route is interesting, passing through part of the campus of Sheffield Hallam University. Some of the buildings have artwork and poetry on them, which is rather nice. The Owen Building holds these lines by the former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion; 'What If..?', written in 2007 for a literature festival. 

   "O travellers from                                                                    
     somewhere else to here,                                                          
     Rising from Sheffield Station                                                   
     and Sheaf Square
     To wander through the 
     labyrinths of air,

     Pause now, and let
     the sight of this sheer cliff                                          Your thoughts are like
     Become a priming-place                                            this too: as fixed as words
     which lifts you off                                                       Set down to decorate
     To speculate                                                              a blank facade
     What if..?                                                                   And yet, as words are too, 
     What if..?                                                                   all soon transferred
     What if..?
                                                                                       To greet and understand
     Cloud-shadows drag                                                 what lies ahead - 
     their hands across                                                     The city where your
     the white;                                                                   dreaming is repaid,
     Rain prints the sudden                                              The lives which wait
     darkness of its weight;                                              hidden as yet, unread."
     Sun falls and leaves the 
     bleaching evidence of light.

And this is in the Winter Garden. I couldn't find the author but some sterling detective work by John at the wonderful http://bystargooseandhanglands.blogspot.com/ has identified this as a poem called 'Twinned with Mars' by Roger McGough. Thanks, John. 


  1. You've shown me a different Sheffield to the one I saw.

    1. A sunny day makes a great difference to how a place appears, I think.

  2. According to the "Writing Sheffield" website that second poem is the work of Roger McGough. Nice to find poetry instead of graffiti.

  3. How charming to find poetry to absorb the walker.

  4. You wonder if that's the largest inscribed poem in the world.

  5. How wonderful to have poetry given such a place of honor!


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