Ode to the Irwell


Oh once fair Irwell that danced and sparkled

Through the upland moors of Lancashire

What did they do to you through the centuries

To change your health and character


Where once fishermen landed their tasty catches

And city folk enjoyed trips on pleasure boats

Your banks are now constrained and constricted

By mills and dye works, and only the city’s detritus floats


Your once pure water that gave home to countless fish

Now varies in hue from muddy brown and dirty green,

Orange, ochre and maroon that no one could ever cherish

Your endless chatter is now reduced to a turgid groan


Yet there is hope for your future my abused stream

Conservation plans put in progress and still developing

Make the thought of renewed health not just a distant dream

Perhaps one day hopefully soon your health we’ll be restoring


Can it be that near Salford Quays there is a renowned haven

For countless diving ducks, five thousand in number

And Kingfishers, Swans, Cormorants and Heron

Thrive on its banks with only rowers to break their slumber?

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