The double vision of Medway City
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
Pomegranate seed scatters like confetti
beneath the maypole lime tree,
bleeds underfoot across red tarmac.
The underworld comes calling to
Medway Maritime, even beneath the
lit path of Jack-in-the Green.
Curled in the sinuous arms of the Medway,
the cathedral walls shimmer gold.
In mirage-hot delirium, empty streets
echo pilgrim songs, resonant from the scalloped
shell of St James, while Sheela-na-gig dances
along the western facade. They bury their own
in the chalk.
The souls whisper a path above the
great lines, along the dried banks
of the buried brook. In this lockdown hush,
who can resist this call to the other place ?
The children of the city slip beneath
the chalk’s singing lips in packs, to play
urban explorer among the ribs of
Among the honeycomb caves, where world war
chatter and tangled wires cross like nets,
voices lie submerged among secret tunnels,
now given over as hunting ground
to the mermaids. And the melody
repeats and repeats, the words
of the dead and dying.
Who can hear their stories about
the best of times? Those coming times, the
promise of post-lockdown treats and trips?
All come to dust, in this double vision city.
Phantom paths paced by phantom
pilgrims; tracked by the living looking for
some faint breath of memory.
Embroider our tales into something
more lasting, because I cannot stand it.
The daily toll of the dead; the pomegranate
bleeding slowly into the air. The
lime tree and it’s growing shade,
smothering the spark of everything
Writing by SM JENKIN
Artwork ‘Forever the toll’ by IAM BURN