5 December 2019


The River Porter (Porter Brook) approaching Forge Dam

I wrote a poem today - about a little river that I know well. It begins its journey in the spongy sphagnum moss and peaty terrain of Ringinglow Moor before spilling into steep-sided Porter Clough.

Then it heads past Forge Dam Cafe - once a working forge - before flowing through ancient woods to Endcliffe Park. That is surely Sheffield's most loved park and every Easter there is a plastic duck race there for charity - along The Porter Brook.

Every Wednesday when I walk to work at the Oxfam shop, I look over the park railings to observe the Porter before it flows into a Victorian tunnel under Ecclesall Road. Though its journey is quite short it has never dried up these forty summers past.

With two miles to go until it joins forces with The River Sheaf my little river passes along arrow straight high-walled sections and through dark and slimy culverts. It would be possible to walk it in wading boots though I have never done that.

The two rivers meet beneath Sheffield Midland Railway Station - hidden from view - before they continue - soon meeting the much larger River Don by Blonk Street Bridge.

Porter Brook

Sucking  sphagnum
On Ringinglow moortop
Along hidden capillaries
Water  slowly syphoned
Leeching  hummocks
Where ovines graze
And red grouse cackle.

Puddling  now
At yon  clough top
Under stone arches swelling
Over rock steps tumbling
Surging down the valley’s “V”
Incised through ancient history
Drawn onward to a distant sea

Past old Forge Dam
Burbling into suburbia
Where mill wheels spun
Grinding knife and scythe
Under mighty beech and lime
Then  scurrying into shadows dark
Cast by trees in Endcliffe Park.

Deeper into the city
Subterraneously contained
In stygian culverts, under roads
That brook of hidden secrets flows
Approaching engine grumble grows
At Platform 5 - while  yards beneath
Is where The Porter meets The Sheaf.


  1. Rivers are one of my favorite things in the world. What a lovely tribute (no pun intended!) to your own little river.

    1. We'd ride out of this valley down to where the fields were green
      We'd go down to the river
      And into the river we'd dive
      Oh down to the river we'd ride

    2. Oh my god. I used to tell my ex-husband that he shouldn't play that song because people would think he wrote it about us. One of my favorites, for sure.

  2. I live in a city that has no river. I've never lived in a city without a river until 3 years ago and I miss the river so much. Water, like trees, are good for the soul.

    1. Watching rivers flow by is almost as therapeutic as walking on a wild ocean beach. So sorry you haven't got a river Lily. We have got five. We could sell you one.

    2. And I would buy it. Thank you.

  3. You've written a lovely poem and the photos are perfect. The mighty Mississippi River has always been a part of my life in one way or another. When my brother died we spread his ashes at the beginning of the Mississippi River as he had requested.

    1. You must have been up in Minnesota then... fulfilling a sweet and poetic request. How different the mighty Mississippi is compared with the little River Porter.

    2. Yes, he lived in Minnesota and often traveled the smaller beginning sections of the Mississippi by canoe.

    3. Perhaps in its upper reaches it is a little like the Porter. It must be a comforting thought - to imagine your late brother in a landscape he loved.

  4. Oh, how I wish I was drifting in the river right this very moment...with the cool/cold water flowing over me. It is as hot as Hades here today...incredibly hot.

    Your poem is descriptive, Yorkie...lovely. :)

    1. Thank you Lee. Would you be wearing a leopard print bikini in the river?

    2. I wouldn't care what I was wearing...or not wearing, Yorkie. My sole intent would be to be cool...something that won't be happening for a while yet as we're presently going through a heatwave. Today was horrendous...and tomorrow is going to be similar...worse luck!

      (Perhaps you should read my latest blog post that I put up a couple or so days ago....on the subject of clothes or no clothes!) :)

    3. As you were writing this comment I was reading your blogpost.

    4. There you go! Arms...and eyes...across the ocean!! :)

      If today is going to be anything like yesterday...and all reports have said it will be...I think I'll spend the day sitting under a cold shower...or in my fridge with Clint! The latter is very tempting!! :)

  5. Evocative poem about small rivers that flow under the streets. Britain is blessed with beautiful rivers, some small, some large like the Severn and Wye. The small chalk rivers down south are perhaps the cleanest and most romantic.

    1. The true river of my heart is The River Hull. In its upper reaches it is itself a clear chalk river, draining The Yorkshire Wolds...but by the time it reaches The Humber its character is much changed.

  6. I really enjoyed this. Thank you.
    This September we stayed in the Loire valley and spent many hours by the Loire and the Cher. There's something restorative about a river, I think.

    1. I agree with you about the restorative nature of rivers... they keep on flowing down to the sea in a never ending cycle without which we would not exist.

  7. A lovely poem! I wonder if anyone else has ever written one about this particular little river.
    My home town is situated above the river Neckar, which joins the Rhine in Mannheim. The Neckar has suffered greatly between the 1950s and 70s; it was once so dirty that people joked one would not die from drowning in it, but from swallowing its poisoned water.
    Finally, regulations were imposed about water quality and what was allowed to be discharged into the river, and stretches of its banks have been re-naturalised. Nowadays, there is rich wildlife in and around the river, although it is still commercially used for freight ships and the occasional pleasure boat.

    1. It sounds as though the Neckar has had a similar rejuvenation to the River Don in Yorkshire which was once described as a sewer by the writer George Orwell in the late 1920's.

  8. Great poem. When I lived in Yorkshire our home was next to the River Bain; I would spend hours walking, paddling, or just sitting watching the water flow by.

    1. Thank you Sue I guess you already knew that there is also a River Bain in Lincolnshire.


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