They're Coming Back
to the Water

by Johnny Handle
boat

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Early morning ripples on the old canal
They're coming back to the water
Painted castles, red and white roses on the door
They're coming back to the water
Voices calling on the towpath once again
Motors chugging at the boating game
Things on the cut ain't quite the same
They're coming back to the water

There's a brand new spirit on the pounds and locks
They're coming back to the water
Old and new narrow boats rolling off the chocks
They're coming back to the water
Branches and rushes are cut to make a way
Mud and weed and sandbanks, they're all cleared away
Boats fill up the moorings like the by-gone days
They're coming back to the water

Silver ribbons running right across the land
They're coming back to the water
Feel the old tiller moving in your hand
They're coming back to the water
Slip back in time, forget about your haste
You'll come again and stay once you've had a taste
There's a pulse and a soul, after years of waste
They're coming back to the water

Lazy old heron blinks his sleepy eye
They're coming back to the water
Flaps away on grey square wings through a misty sky
They're coming back to the water
Buntings and warblers in the reeds are waving tall
Ducks and kingfishers, geese and moorhens call
Come down to the cut you'll be friends with us all
They're coming back to the water

Ghosts of the horse and the butty full of coal
They're coming back to the water
Sometimes you'll see them as the bow ripples roll
They're coming back to the water
But one day soon when the world steadies down
The boats will all have cargoes, the engines they will pound
Fifty tons of transport that will never run you down
They're coming back to the water

Skipton to Selby, from Nottingham to Stoke
They're coming back to the water
From Chester down to London a new kind of folk
They're coming back to the water
Opening up from Bristol, down to London town
Through the moors and mountains, round the rolling downs
Floating in your home and travelling around
They're coming back to the water

Brindley and Telford smiling in their graves
They're coming back to the water
When they see their lifetimes work and how it has been saved
They're coming back to the water
Cast iron bridges, high aqueducts are fine
Mighty tunnels, reservoirs, locks that steeply climb
Now a living monument they're working all the time
They're coming back to the water
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