Where is the slope
that was shaped like a breast,
the breast of Mother Earth herself,
now covered by slabs of the City,
where the plain turns into a shelf
and the shelf stands high by the river,

the river now hidden by stone
where the buildings reach up
with their fingers,
and the river is left all alone.
And the hill that gave us
the name that you ask,

so how did it come to be,
with so many chesters
across the land,
each one with a different key?
Chester is merely an ending,
from the Romans

when England began,
but the key that's tagged
at the very front
has nothing to do with Man.
Quite the reverse,
for the City is mother

like Mam Tor that stands nearby,
like Moel Famau, that's another,
Manceinion sings to the sky,
Mamucium croons to her baby
and the baby sleeps on in her arms,
and we still cannot tell

now which was the hill
with its milky, motherly smell,
for Manchester/Mother are one
since the City was first begun.
And she holds the City
alive in her arms

where the countryside ends
with its woods and its farms,
where the Manky Way
stands high on its pins,
where the dawn creeps up
and the day begins,

though the City indeed never sleeps,
for that is the tryst that she keeps.
From the hill with its nipple
that succoured the town,
still only a village
all covered in down,

now only the name remains,
our mother, our mam,
our Mancunian dam,
who sits by the water,
her back to the hills,
who wears a bright apron

of red, without frills,
where it covers the ache of her lap,
and suckles her baby, the City,
her nipple thrust out like a tap.
And the City she thinks is so pretty,
where it rests

by night and by day,
grows bigger for all its mother's love
as it struggles to find its way.
And the City grows taller and deeper,
grows stronger in her arms,
but she holds it to her body,

she cuddles it there in her palms.

And you ask, Where is
the original slope
that was shaped around her breast?
And I say that only the name remains.
The place can never be guessed.

Through all the years of poverty,
of golden opportunity,
of peace and war and daily grind,
this is the City
of Mama we find,
the place of precious things,

and here where the streets
stretch out in the sun,
where the life of the City
was first begun,
now mother and child
forever are one.

24/8/06 Revised 6/9/06

Click the link below to read more about the poet
More about Mark

1 comment:

  1. That is really lovely post, loved reading it. Manchester is the place I want to visit once in life and you have summed it up beautifully