These reservoirs
were built to keep things in,
water, fish,
assorted water-weed.
Canada geese
skim the surface light,
homing in
to where they now belong.

Long ago
they gave up on the Steppes
and now see here
as their only home,
as though they've somehow
lost their inner maps,
now only need
the atlas of these hills.

They were made
in the days when mills
were filled with workers
coming to the towns
of Lancashire
to work the cotton trade.

The rainfall that
cascaded from the land
was captured here,
where the farms were drowned
in these great pits,
to quench that mighty thirst.

Their names are taken
from those ghostly farms,
Ogden, Kitcliffe,
Piethorne, Norman Hill,
Hanging Lees
and Rooden; six in all.

These days we often
walk up through the hills,
the Pennines here
loom above our house.
The days of rain
are plentiful for sure
and water's still
collecting in the ponds.

We fish and tell
the children to beware
of cold deep currents
pulsing through each sluice
connecting name
with name, each stepping down
from these heights
to the towns below;
Oldham, Rochdale,
New Hey and Milnrow.

These reservoirs
hold something more as well;
tales of how
we colonise the land
to make it home.
As geese have, so do we.
Ogden Reservoir, Newhey, Rochdale
Categorized as Poems

By Arthur Richardson

Very part time poem maker. Retired from paid work.


  1. Atmospheric. I’ve often reflected on the loss of farms and villages when reservoirs and dams are built. A sadness seeps through the names and you capture that sense so well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: