Mud of the Humber

Mud of the Humber  by Roy Matthew Heath

Where the mud of the Humber goes tumbling past
The mouth of the Hull where it meets with the last
Of the waters that rise from the chalk of the Wolds
Here shanties were sung and tall stories told

These men of the river….these wild river men
Men of the Hull….now remembered from when
They were movers of cargos of timber and steel
The tug and the lighter men….The men of the Keel

Where the winds and the tides bring the waters to boil
Here the Bargees and Ferryman suffered and toiled
This is the place, my place let it be
Where the Hull and the Humber roll on to the sea

To the Staithes and the alleys….now the museum quarter
By the Bridge upon Bridge over this troubled water
And there stands the Deep on the eastern shore
Where once stood a Citadel….whose cannons would roar

With barges tied up to the banks of the Hull
Some of them empty, some more than full
Breasted two and three deep with their grain and their oils
Captains puffin’ on briars among ropes laid in coils

Where Barges and Ships from all o’er the world
Here the traffic now roars and flags are unfurled
In the dock where Clippers would unload their treasure
The vessels now there are purely for pleasure

Gone are the days of this valiant band
More at home on the water….than upon dry land
The mud layers thick….the banks all embracing
And the Arctic Corsair lays waist deep and wasting

Where the mud of the Humber goes tumbling past
The mouth of the Hull where it meets with the last
Of the waters that rise from the chalk of the Wolds
Here shanties were sung and tall stories told

In mist on the Humber, in mist on the Hull
Sound of the fog horn, squall of the Gull
The tanker, the Coaster, the Sloop and the Keel
The channels and sandbanks their fate it could seal

Where the winds and the tides bring the waters to boil
Here the Bargees and Ferryman suffered and toiled
This is the place, my place can’t you see
The heart and the soul of my Cultural City

© Roy Matthew Heath

The idea for A River Full Of Stories came about when many of the 2000 visitors to the Open Bridges exhibition inside Scale Lane Bridge told us fascinating tales of their lives working on and around the river.  With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund A River Full Of Stories captures memories and stories to share with future generations through film, exhibition, website and a book for each library and museum in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Open Bridges made history when for the first time all 13 of the bridges over the River Hull in the UK’s City of Culture 2017 raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city of Hull in two at 20:17 hours on 22nd September 2017.  Historic vessels sailed down the river, met by 21st century tugs, to the sound of a new musique concrète work by composer John Stead.

Open Bridges is an independent Hull/East Yorkshire based project.

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

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