When Rowan Met Annie

Somewhere along the Bridgewater Canal

Last year my friend sent me a little BBC clip of the Door-to-Door Poet saying ‘this looks right up your street’, and today I had him – otherwise known as Rowan McCabe  – on my show on ALL FM.

Currently knocking on the doors of Salford for a project about the Bridgewater Canal, I met up with him along the way and interviewed him on a bench. With the sound of birds and dogs and bikes whizzing past in the background, Rowan performed his opening gambit and one of the poems he’s written for a non-paying customer (his services are completely free). He also told me some of the stories he’s heard so far, including ice-skating to the pub and swimming rabbits…

Then we moved across to a pub where we met a Fentiman’s salesman named Pat who was equally disappointed about the pub being closed (it was 10:30AM). When we told him we were poets, he started talking about how we are all born, all die, and all we can do in the middle is do our best…

We talked about the poem ‘Torso of Air’ by Ocean Vuong, from Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Cape, 2017), which Rowan decided Pat would have loved.


Torso of Air

Suppose you do change your life.
& the body is more than

a portion of night – sealed
with bruises. Suppose you woke

& found your shadow replaced
by a black wolf. The boy, beautiful

& gone. So you take the knife to the wall
instead. You carve & carve

until a coin of light appears
& you get to look in, at last,

on happiness. The eye
staring back from the other side –



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