Our river elbows the city centre,
gone before shoppers can pick its drawl
over traffic throttling eastwards,
or size, between car parks and Royal Victoria,
this wash of tarnished cutlery.
Sheffield's all frameworks and renewal
though here this island chokes with waste and scrub,
brickwork's black as Nineteen-Hundred.

Listen. The ghost of Thomas Paine bounds free,
satchel full of blueprints and sedition,
still railing at the parlous conditions
of forgers, grinders, Little Mesters
who held his lines like kites above thick smog.
He stops to ask: Where are your shopkeepers?

Down Up
Leave The River