Holloway Circus

So I’m sitting in a hotel room
A pagoda down below
Traffic on the circus
Moving family slow
In Birmingham on business
But I’ll be home tonight
And tomorrow I will have the sea
Back within my sight

Bit for now I’ll make the best of it
‘Cos it’s nice to be away
Especially in the summer
on a bright and sunny day


Photo – Holloway Circus, Birmingham (from the Radisson Blue) – Jempics


James Brindley

James Brindley was an engineer
born seventeen seventy-two
Who later, when he’d qualified
canals and water knew
He designed many aqueducts
and tunnels through the rocks
along with single traffic gates
in narrow water locks

Fitting then the Canal House
on Bridge Street, Birmingham
should bear his name upon the wall
with fitting epigram
For out there at the water’s edge
his gift to us remains
Where waterways and watercraft
pay homage to his name


Photo – The Canal House pub (formerly ‘The James Brindley’) (and before that, a canal storehouse and boat works), Bridge Street, Birmingham – Jempics

The Tap & Spile

Mirrored lights reflected
in the water here at night
The mystery is magical
and a captivating sight

The Gas Street footbridge shadowed
‘Neath the tower of The Cube
which looms up there behind it
malevolent and huge

But reflected in the water
The Tap & Spile remains
welcoming in the passer-by
to warming log-fire flames


The Tap & Spile on the Birmingham & Worcester canal side in Birmingham dates from 1821. A ‘spile’ is the small wooden peg used to ‘stop’ or ‘broach’ a keg in order to draw off liquid (such as beer). The Cube, designed by Ken Shuttleworth, was completed in 2010 at a cost of £100 million. Photo – Jempics

A colourful story

Colourfully painted
they have seen many days
Sitting next to smokestacks
on England’s waterways
Functional yet lovely
water for the boat
Keeping engines running
flotilla here afloat

Inanimate, their story
over all the many years
would cover several pages
but will never reach our ears
So here’s some inspiration
to help you on your way
Captured when I saw them
in the sunshine yesterday


Photo – painted water containers on a barge in the Gas Street Basin, Birmingham, UK – Jempics


Reflected in the water
Tower blocks in the sun
On the Worcester and the Birmingham
canal, which is quite fun
A peaceful little wander
Present blending with the past
where pace is somewhat slower
that the city where it’s fast


Photo – The Worcester & Birmingham canal, Birmingham, UK – Jempics

Gas Street Basin

The Gas Street Basin barges
look lovely in a line
Here in the heart of Birmingham
peaceful and sublime
Once this would have bristled
with industrial ingress
But now it is a haven
free from turmoil or distress
Testament to memory
preserved in the best way
And perfect for the passer-by
at any time of day


Photo – Gas Street Basin on the Birmingham & Worcester canal, Birmingham, UK – Jempics


Part 1 of 6 in the Jemverse ‘At home’ series

At home on a Sunday
is where I’d rather be
But I’m travelling to Birmingham
a long way from the sea
Five hours on a railway train
to reach my destination
with a good book and some music
to ease my consternation
Not a choice I’d welcome
though I did have plenty warning
As I need to be in Birmingham
for early Monday morning


Today marks the start of another Jemverse mini-series. Six poems collectively making up the ‘At Home’ series. Photo – reflections of the street captured in the New Street station canopy in Birmingham – Jempics.

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