Still Waters

by Ian Hartland


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In a world that moves too quickly there’s a refuge for the sane
When the load becomes too heavy or your day is filled with pain
You can measure out the silence in cup of any size
Or travel any distance where the speed is not the prize
You can watch the sun come rising over flights of wooden gates
Or set in gold behind the waterway

In the shining of still waters
Not a ripple can be seen
To mark the passing of another day

In the heart of dirty cities and the peaceful countryside
Behind the smoky factories or through the meadows wide
The boatmen and their horses brought the coal and other freight
And travelled through the country at a slow but steady rate
But the coming of the railways meant more profits quickly made
And obsolescence stalked the waterway


From the Kennet and the Avon to the Thames and Severn too
The grass is growing over where the narrowboats came through
And the tunnels long abandoned are now empty dark and cold
And echo to the wild winds of the songs they heard of old
The boots no longer ring out as they tramp the tunnel walls
No horse’s hooves are heard along the way


Farewell the horse and harness, the windlass and the lark
The castles and the roses, the aqueduct and the dark
The boats that ply the waters are for pleasure not for gain
And the families on the waterways will not be seen again
In every town and village there’s an emptiness within
As the echoes of the boatmen fade away
This song was written by Ian Hartland who is half of the folk group 'The Harvesters'.

Recorded on :

The following YouTube video was created by Isabelle Hautbout who kindly gave permission for it to be included on this website.