What If? – Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion Poem

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What If?

 

O travellers from somewhere else to here
Rising from Sheffield Station and Sheaf Square
To wander through the labyrinths of air,

Pause now, and let the sight of this sheer cliff
Become a priming-place which lifts you off
To speculate
What if..?
What if..?
What if..?

Cloud shadows drag their hands across the white;
Rain prints the sudden darkness of its weight;
Sun falls and leaves the bleaching evidence of light.

Your thoughts are like this too: as fixed as words
Set down to decorate a blank facade
And yet, as words are too, all soon transferred

To greet and understand what lies ahead –
The city where your dreamling is re-paid,
The lives which wait unseen as yet, unread.

Andrew Motion

For the past 11 years the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading, working with Public Art Consultant Paul Swales, has commissioned writers to create text for pieces of public art. This innovative ongoing project is called Text and the City. A variety of projects have been realised within this project and Sheffield now has a large number of public poems mounted onto buildings across Sheffield.

 

Sir Andrew Motion, is an English poet, novelist, and biographer, who was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009.