Your Mersey

We welcome feedback on what the Mersey means to you and would love to hear about past memories and anecdotes associated with this important river basin.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contributions. 

poems submitted by a group of local poets in Stockport beautifully illustrate how the Mersey remains a constant source of inspiration to us. A new poem has been added by Kit Black.  If you have any poetry related to the Mersey Rivers, please let us know.

Moon caress 

The moon caressed the water,
As it bubbled down the stream,
The only movement, in the stillness,
As the people lay, and dreamed.
It glistened, and reflected,
In the early morning light,
As it had done, for a thousand years,
Until this very night.
He sat there thinking, deep and soft,
Of times that had gone before,
The long, and often hard life,
That he'd had, to endure.
Then suddenly, peace descended,
His mind became sharp, and clear,
Why not just, end it all now,
There'd be no need for tears.
He'd lived, loved, laughed and cried,
Done all things, a man can do,
Sung songs, wrote poems, lived and loved,
Played the game, in every way, true.

The years flew by, now he was here,
Was this the ending, of his days,
He slipped in to the water,
And his senses, drifted away.
Go back my son, the voice said,
It's really not your time,
You've got so much to do, yet,
The waters flowed, sublime.
The spirits lifted him, with ease,
He climbed, then walked away,
His thoughts, of his beautiful grandsons,
At the dawn, of this wonderful day.

by Kit Black, Jan 2013

Boat Story

Extended like a playing card
Leaves cover the tip of your boat
Dropped in the absence
Of a captain stood on top
Shouting out orders,
Coloured candy
In dripping water

Echoing your sneezing
In each passing moment
Unfolded across
Each town
Tuning into the silence
Of your stuttering engine.
By Andy N

River Story

Inside this canal
Is another canal
Tied around in knots
Circling round and round
Each other
Like boxers tied up
Inside a jewel box
Stalking each other
In broken shadows
And half thrown punches
Completely mis-presented
In size.
By Andy N

Boat Story II

Enchanted in lavish memories
Dusk descends upon the boat
Before pulling away just as sharp
Like a hand losing its touch
Blurred in half moonlight
Waning in spread leaves
Faded purple in the dusk
Across unmarked graves
Weeping daily for the
Return of summer.
By Andy N 

Untitled Poem referencing Liverpool’s link with the slave trade

Prosperity of a land
its wealth and admiration
renowned for celebrated pop music, culture
and sporting personalities
enriched by scrap tools
to build a fort and sail across the waters
networking commodities
to create the foundation of success
it tastes sweet
because its flavour bursts full of ammunition
guarded by brass armour and copper plates
interlacing textile journeys
with stricken fabrics
used tirelessly in mills
to build the stages for merchants to stand tall
while the oppressed workers held up many boundaries
to pave way for starlets to shine above them
By Meschach Brencher

Liver-coloured River

a liver coloured pool of water
or Liverpool
not exactly a taste of meat
more of a muddy texture
to delve into
sacred like the River Ganges
a denomination of followers
streaming the waters
the line that traverses through
Lancashire and Cheshire
onto the veils of Salford and Stockport
to Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes
amalgamates its appearance in the spectrum
the continuous cycled passage of waters
is so overbearing to retain a nice colour pigment
it all just imploded into a blurry broth of
of liver coloured water
when it hit off the ‘boundaries’ too much
By Meschach Brencher

A Life Lived Alongside the Mersey

I am an original Liver bird, born in Edge Lane,
then crossing the water to Wallasey some six years later.
I played on New Brighton beach when Dad
had a rare day off from his two jobs.
There were quick trips to Nana Murphy in Speke,
on the Royal Daffodil or the Royal Iris.
Thirty years later, I recreated the iconic Titanic scene
with my two boys, laughing for absolute joy
as Mersey spray and Scouse rain
soaked us under our feeble summer coats;
and Gerry and his Pacemakers sang
of our doings through inconsiderate speakers.
There were ten years in Runcorn, when Dad worked at ICI
and Mum at the docks. One day, a submarine rode upriver
as hardened working class men waved in wonder
and talked often about it afterwards.
I remember the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge, painted green
to impress a Jubilee Queen in 1977. The first time
we crossed it, Dad joked the car had to traverse the arch.
Like my nine-year-old self, I still blanch at the thought.
Forget my fourteen years in foreign lands with foreign rivers – I came
home to my river, some miles upstream, in Stockport.
I walk my dogs beside its banks on the Transpennine Trail;
scurry through a scruffy bus station and, like the honorary
Stopfordian I am, ignore the mighty Mersey at its source.
Instead, I compose poems in its honour, and acknowledge
that I belong to the River Mersey;
and it belongs to me.
By Linda Cosgriff

River, Flow!

Not the splendour of the River Amazon,
That's plain;
Nor the sweet romantic mystery
of the lovely River Seine -

Just the Mersey
Flowing through
Dear old Stockport -
Sometimes smelly,
That is true -

Nonetheless, it flows to be
Ever nearer to the sea -
There to merge and be a part
Of the ocean's greater heart -

Flow, then, Mersey: you're aware
of the larger picture there...

By Dorinda MacDowell

Listen to Mother!

Mrs Brown forbade her daughter
To paddle in the local stream.
'There's awful danger in the water,
There's things in there will make you scream!

'No way!' replied this feisty child.
Her mother answered every quibble:
'Eels and rats, and creatures wild
Will bite your bits, the fish will nibble,

the microbes feed on human flesh,
The water's deep, the current's fast,
The waterweed will soon enmesh
Your feet and legs, you'll be aghast

At all the nasty horrid objects
Lying in wait for a little girl
Who doesn't listen, just rejects
her mum's advice, as swine a pearl.'

'Gertcha!' said the wilful maid,
'I don't believe it, you're just dim!'
So in she bounded unafraid -
And drowned, because she couldn't swim.

by Joe Stephenson

Hidden Source

Here meet the rivers.
Goyt and Tame entwine
like destined lovers.
Here beneath
classless sixties concrete
the Mersey rises.
No one sees
this source of songs,
life itself.
We hid the source
and gave our river
to the Scousers.
By John Keane

Mersey Quest

Free of Stockport’s
grim industrial shadows
uncoiling from its hidden source
between mill-shells
and empty offices
the Mersey glides
with better prospects
past academic homes
trim gardens, trendy bars
through harder outposts
on a city's edge
valved in the Ship Canal
for stillborn, pick-gouged leagues
it finds once more its ancient vein
curves and toils
through Warrington
tidal now
the rising river feels
an ocean pulse, changes hands
from Saxon to Celt, from careful progress
to a wilder heart
broadens, deepens, shoulders on
at estuarine pace
past brackish, faded towns
in concrete-slashed wastelands
through the city of slaves and sin
Carl Jung once called
The Pool of Life
then loses itself
like love in beloved
a tidal climax
exposed to all horizons
river no more
just sea.
By John Keane

Place of Power

Across the ceaseless Goyt I stand and gaze
From pebbled vantage and foul-scented sands
To where the ogreish, pear-capped mill still stands
As once it stood, back in my younger days.
The roaring waters here will meet the lazy Tame
Beneath some concrete bridge, where no one sees;
Then slip beneath a town with furtive ease:
The Mersey now, an old and famous name;
And slow through growing suburbs will it wind
To slide at ease through brackish, northern towns
And pour its flow, at last, into the sea;
But here I stand, arraigned by scenic binds
And watch the river pass these sacred bounds
For now – this endless moment – and for me.
By John F Keane


The False Claim

Spring in your step
Underneath lies concrete bed
Steadfast flow journey starts
Liquid movement kept within
Water trapped far below
Subway tunnel travels unseen
Shopping precinct built upbove
Powerful source begins life
Destiny forces natures path
Flowing into urban growth
Travelling under ancient bridges
Onwards to the docks
Spitting saliva foaming chemicals
False claims scousers brag
Once busy famous Port
The City of Liverpool
Where the River Mersey
Becomes a local landmark
Music of singing tunes
Rhyme plays radio waves
To walk all alone
History books of records
Old maps clearly show
The birth certificate states
Stockport is its home.
By Nigel Astell


Seaward Pool of Life, music city
built on trade of shame, by river-sea
sundered from your Celtic heart.

Decaying foothold of a wayward race
littered with shells of drug-discarded faith
salt-winded strand for jetsam peoples

weathered haven
of continents and centuries

gulls calling, ever calling
though no ships call today
for trade in tea and men

a commerce long undone
by driving steam
in Manchester

it's smokestack breath sustained by rowdy toil,
enriched by clattering looms and eager hands
in tireless mills where silence never came.
By wealth and faith divided, by sport and Grammar bound,
an earnest Saxon ethic in its blood
as great it grew beside the barren hills.

Two faded cities tied in enmity.
One river binds them, coiling swift or slow
through levelled lands, valved in the pick-gouged Canal
for still born leagues, time silted artery between
upland and ocean, outlook and lifestyle
and two hateful twins.

by John F Keane

Swept Away

Spinning Trees
Confetti leaves.

Earth Shaker
Storm maker.

Pounding rain
Muddy assault.

Unstoppable force
Drenched river.

Crashing battering
Harsh destroyer.

Falling bank
Foundation crumbles.

Landscape wrecker
Boundary changer.

Horror onslaught
Dividing unmercifully.

Removing obstacles
No problem.

Turbulence dies
Calmness gathers.

Sun shines
Blue skies.

Still waters
Calm ripples.

Killer nightmare
Dark depths.

Currents rebuild
New path.

Drifting memories
Swept away.

by Nigel Astell