My breakfast time view this morning looked down from my balcony and along the River Irwell's banks, where some trees are changing colour much faster than others. Who needs the blandness of breakfast tv when you have a view like this - and the BBC World Service on the radio for real news, plus The Guardian delivered to your e-reader? It was an inspiring start for me to National Poetry Day.
Here's an extract from a poem by Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925) about two of our great Mancunian, Salfordian, Lancastrian rivers, called The Mersey and The Irwell. (It also mentions a third, the River Irk).
"...Where blended Irk and Irwell streamed
While Britons pitched the tent,
Where legionary helmets gleamed,
And Norman bows were bent,
An ancient shrine was once esteemed
Where pilgrims daily went...
...And though it be long since daisies grew
Where Irk and Irwell flow,
If human love springs up anew,
And angels come and go,
What matters it that the skies were blue
A hundred years ago? "