What If – Andrew Motion

Looking left after taking the picture of the mural to Harry Brearley you see a poem written on the side of a Sheffield Hallam University building.

It is by Andrew Motion and reads



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.


When I was a Student in sheffield I didn’t stop to read it, I was always in a rush to get to the Station. Plus being more nervous a person back then than I am now, I felt it out of place for me to simply stand on the street looking at this building.

Much like Sheffield itself, everything is changing. We are no exception.



2 thoughts on “What If – Andrew Motion

  1. Pingback: Sheffield Winter Gardens | Captured Sunlight

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