Out on the grass and down on the bare clay,
with a scattering of cigarette butts, dog dirt
and bottle caps, there are dozens of tesserae
from the sundered panel’s mosaic, some red
some black, some white, but most in various tones
of cobalt blue, and only one I can see in the gold
of HOPE – or the bits of its letters that remain,
set in what’s left of a moon; on the reverse,
above the jagged edge, a blazing sun’s
staring eyes. Embedded in the cobbles of the base,
a limestone plaque that says: installed in honour
of the survivors of sexual violence.
The withered stalks of ragwort shiver
and no one else is about on this windswept rise
above the grey waters of the harbour,
where a red-hulled dredger returns to the quays,
steaming up to the ballast bank, then slower.
What to frame beneath those eyes?
A town like any other built at the mouth of a river;
its quays with cafés, pubs – and now a slow-moving train;
old slate roofs, a church spire, a college tower.
And from the harbour side, as high-tide builds again,
the gathering lapwings uneasy on the breakwater,
their thin cries rising as yet another flock straggles in.
First published in The Scaldy Detail, 2013