Imagining the tales these ancient waterways could tell,
I love to work the lock, those oaken gates so firm and strong,
With know-alls up above to tell you what you’re doing wrong.I love to see the native creatures busy at the bank,
The otter and the water vole, the terrapin and mink,
And peering in the water, into shallows green and still,
To see somebody’s goldfish from the kitchen window-sill.I love to moor along the bank and hear the gentle rain,
To cook a meal and watch the world beyond the window-pane,
Little bobbing moorhen chicks, the mallard and the coot,
Exhausted lovers hoping that their effort’s bearing fruit.I love the ancient bridges, every keystone, every corbel,
The singing of the little birds, the chirrup and the warble,
To feed a lonely swan, so perfect, white as alabaster,
Who struck me with his wing; observe my collar-bone in plaster.
I love to meet the other folk who use the waterways,
The walkers and the fishermen on sunny languid days,
We drift beside the towpath and we breathe the summer’s breath,
Till roaring motor-bikers come and frighten us to death.
I love the inland waterways and if it’s in my power,
I’ll just keep on a-sailing at about three miles an hour,
And when I see that final tunnel, into it I’ll glide,
I’ll raise my yachting cap and see you on the other side.