noun / ‘mʌdlɑːk/

A mudlark is someone who scavenges the mud
of a river for items of historical value; once an 18th-century
profession for destitute townsfolk; a slob-dweller, skin-flint,
or snecklifter of lumped coal, copper or bone; often children,
a rust-urchin or gutter-snipe, or women, a dock-fairy, slagtenant
or water-flirt, now white middle-class sport; poaching
hair pin and pipe from the water’s fist – knuckled and boned
by dock-bollards – the trophies of tidal uprising; a pier-coloniser
silt-flayer or land-stripper; history’s pickpocket or proofreader;
a journalist of junk; occasionally, a brown person who prowls
the shore in search of oneself; a silt-grubbling or mud-goblin;
a human-splinter at home with the shit and shards; a surgeon
of skeletal wasteland whose muscle slackens but never scars;
a coroner of stubbed-out dreams, guided by the ferrous gristle
of the foreshore: river-slave or sludge-master, we are all pilgrims
to the broken; land-healers in training. So let us kneel at the altar
of silt and silence; moor our hearts between its shifting, plastic
shores.

 

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From Magma 88, Underworld

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