Hardy’s Well is a pub at the end of Manchester’s famous Curry Mile. The building is 200 years old. As a bet with the landlord in 1994 Lemm Sissay wrote the poem that is on the side wall: a rebellious shout. The pub closed in 2016 and is at risk of being demolished. A planning application has been submitted for a block of 26 flats with shops. The wall with the poem will be retained inside the new building. Below is my reply to Lemm Sissay.
What a waste!
What a waste of wise, witty words, wholly wild, worldwide; wicked, wanton, willful, witless wickedness.
When the watering hole Hardy’s Well is without water, wine, whiskey, whisky,
without Wienerwurst, Wi-Fi, whitebait, wontons, wedges, waffles;
without waiters, white witches, widows, widowers in wellingtons,
women, wheeler dealers, wastrels, wino’s, woodworkers in winklepickers,
white wicket keepers, weightlifter with whippets whining at the window;
Welsh welders in woollen woven wetsuits.
Wretched, wretched, wretched! Wrong, wrong, wrong!
We who wave at weddings, whisper at wakes, we wish to wave wands,
write wry words as ways to wound those wealthy windbags with their weasel words.
When we wander away towards Withington, walk against whipping wind
we weep, watching weeds, wear and tear on wooden wheelbarrows
in a wasteland, we who wage war against wrongs, let’s have a whip round.
Poet Lemm Sissay is philosophical about the development: Things change, and new poems emerge. It’s all part of the march of time. (Manchester Evening News).