18 July 2011

Hardys Well and Lemn Sissay's Poem

Hardys Well is a pub just south of the Curry Mile, Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester.

Lemn Sissay believes that 'poetry is central to what we do', and that poetry should be seen on the street in the same way as sculpture is. One evening, talking to his friend Mark Atwood in this pub, the manager challeged him to write a poem  on the wall.

The result is below: quite a masterpiece of street art in the pub garden, complete with benches and old red phonebox. The only thing is, by the look of the abundant vegetation around the locked gate, I strongly suspect that the pub is now closed. If this is the case, it's a bit of a blow to Lemn Sissay's idea of poems as landmarks.

'HARDYS WELL
WAIT WATERLESS WANDERER. WHOEVER WALKS
TO THE WELL WILL WADE INTO A WONDEROUS WORLD.
A WORLD WHICH WILL WAKEN THE WILTING
WALLPAPER OF WORK AND WORRY. WELL? WORRY
WILL WAIT WHILE WELLS WAND WHIRLS A WARM-
HEARTED WACKINESS INTO A WEARY WEEK.
WHEREAFTER WAVES AND WATERFALLS OF
WONDERMENT WILL WASH ALL WEAKNESS. A WAY?
WELL? A WORLD WIDE WEB OF WHOLEHEARTED
WHOLESOME WISDOM AND WIT WAITS WIPE AWAY
WORRIES. WELLS WORKS WONDERS FOR WRINKLES.
WHY WAIT. WHY WONDER. WHY WORRY. WHY
WAIN. WHY WHITTLE. WHY WITHER. WALK IN. WELL.
WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR. IT'LL DOUBLE YOU. AT
HARDYS WELL.'
LEMN SISSAY

ADDENDUM: Lemn Sissay has now won the vote for Chancellor of the University of Manchester. Phew! I'm very pleased to say he easily beat the horrendous Peter Mandelson: we don't want dinosaurs, especially hypocrites like the architect of New Labour!

Links to my other posts of Lemn Sissay public poems are given below:

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Lemn Sissay's Poetry in Shudehill, Manchester
The Art of Michael Visocchi and Lemn Sissay in London
Lemn Sissay's 'Flags', Tib Street, Manchester
Lemn Sissay's 'RAIN'

5 comments:

lemn said...

While at the same time Manchester City Council is considering where to place my street poem and Manchester University acommodation are erecting one in their building. But if this poem goes it will be a blow to the area more than a blow to me personally. it's become part of the landscape and in so much landscapes change. It will be a real pity to see the poem go if it does.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

(Without typos this time, I hope.)

Hi Lemn! I could have done with a little help from you last week, when I was in Manchester and couldn't find 'RAIN'. Now I know that too is on Wilmslow Road, only your website says it's over Geminii Take Away, near Contact Theatre. No amount of Googling could help me there though, and I suspect Contact Theatre is no longer, or at least not in the same place? So, for when I hit Manchester sometime in the future, could you tell me where 'RAIN' is in relation to Hardys Well?

Now, I photoed 'Flags' on Tib Street, and shall be trying to piece that together for another post probably later today. Trouble is, there are now a number of letters chipped off some stones, which doesn't make for easy reading. Plus, I may get the order wrong. If you could send me the poem by email, you'd not only be saving me an effort, but I'd get it right! Or is it on the internet somewhere? Anyway: anottsquair@hotmail.com

And of course I agree: that poem has to stay on that wall! It's a gem.

Keep up the good work bringing poetry to the people, although I'm sure you will.

Cheers

Tony

Hence72 said...

I walked past there just the other day

Dr Tony Shaw said...

And?

Claire Suzanne said...

I arrived here through a google search. Hardy's Well has always intrigued me. As a Rusholme kid I grew up three streets away from it but it never registered on my childhood map. I knew of the Osborne and Claremont but 'town'was where I was at and all about. I love this poem as I always get stuck at traffic lights and like to see how far I can get down it, but sadly I can't find much information about its origins. I hope there was a well, and like to think of Hardy as last of a breed of bucolic Manchester men..choosing to make a living tilling the rich near fallow fields among an increasing industrialised city. Probably some yuppie marketing name though. Shame.