Bristol is complicated.
The history has subsidence.
Where have all the people gone
Who built a castle, town and bridges?
They traversed this place
And in their faces are lines
Of a hidden railway and river.
Features now buried.
The rocks moved
To enable the first explorations
Of earth and sky.
Down to coal-scarred, sand-crusted soil
Where the bed of industry
Gave of her slumber
To heat and to sparkle a home.
Up to the springs of a hot well
Where the favoured medicine
Spilled its tonic to the sick.
The contact, the connection
Has been covered and crushed.
Bristol fights for the surface,
While slinking below
The Frome carries something lost
Out to sea.
We are a floating harbour.
The landscape which so realises
Our suspension
Sees a gorge’s drop below
Where there swells an empty distance
Between here and the past.
Sewer and cellar permit a junction
Insofar as a need prevails
(here are the tracks of a terrestrial life),
But why must we be lost to a tide
Complicit in erasure
With commerce?
When the ships depart
There can be no home.

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