Reservoirs

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 constructed
                      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.