Something Slips Through Lock Gates at Foxton

by Mark Goodwin - poet-sound-artist

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Foxton Locks are in South Leicestershire, England.

This sound-enhanced poem was commissioned
by Writing East Midlands in 2013.

The accordion player, Mike Beech, is also
the Museum Keeper of Foxton Canal Museum



noise like wind through
a complex of twigs

as notes are blown off

-key through the

crack by the hinge
white froth rotates

a lock-keeper’s accordion’s
white keys tremble as

the black ones thump

algaed blue-bricks are
loaves of a gone

-world’s bread

listen a metal smell of sluiced
utterances about ocean

water’s noise creased
between lock jaws

a sky being wound to rope

the lock-keeper’s fingers curl
round his lock-key’s startling iron
as frost’s revolution inlays

scrolls along a long black hull

each lock’s mechanism holds
repeated glugs & crick

-cracks of past’s silence

the judder of a paddle
travelling its ratchet is
every boat that’s

ever passed here all

hulls water’s held

the lock keeper’s brow seeps
salty silvery threads as August
sun cooks ditch-stink each

peninsula of
lock-lever boasts

a lit tip a

water-white light
house on
a black head
land poking

out in

to a sea of
green mid
land hillside

peninsulas repeated as
steps up through

a house of water or
a house of hill

a lock-keeper’s pressed
wet glistening bones stretch
from hill

bottom to hill


his whole elastic
skeleton is rills &

roars &
trickles &


passionate glugs from
hill top to hill


each paddle winding-post has
a toothed bar like a child’s

vertebral column

dark grease glistens
on the column’s metal notches

on cool mornings dew
collects on the grease

air delivers some

thing a lock-keeper’s wri

ggling accordion
is a cage of cla
cking ribs or

fingers of white
aerated water &
black lock-levers of

flats & sharps his

wife’s voice hides
in the faint hiss
of spray

gathering on grass as a

lock-keeper plays

like minerals dissolving
in water or water’s

patient evaporation his

music is
a cold

wet flare yet
dry as by a

hundred years
of fireside

First published by Shearsman Magazine


released June 12, 2017
poetry, vocals, field-recording & production: Mark Goodwin
accordion: Mike Beech

image: Nikki Clayton




Mark Goodwin - poet-sound-artist England, UK

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