Lay for the Day 21st
Two Gentlemen of Verona opens at the new Globe beside the Thames,
the first full production of this exemplary venture. A reconstruction
of Shakespeares theatre, within a stones throw of the original
site, is a posthumous fulfilment of the vision of an American film director,
Sam Wanamaker. The theatre was formally opened by the Queen and Prince
Philip on 12th June of the following year.
poem was inspired by the stretch of rivershore below the modern Bankside.
It won the competition for Southwark Poet of the Year 2005.
of the Thames
The sand of the Thames
is a fine,
fur-coloured sand, in beaches a stride
or two wide, below the high-water lines;
deep wads in which the heels sink
fringing the mud, the rubble
and tar-black misshapen shoe-soles
more generally strewn on the shore.
Diligent encyclopaedia, the
sorts its content somehow: over a few yards
the shards of crockery, fronds and crests,
a tea-cup handle are most collected.
Nearby are the knee-joints of cows,
porous cones of marrowbone,
a medley of chipped brick, pipe and tile.
Incoherent plastics mingle
with the flint
strap, clip, top, flat bottles, half a toy
then for ten further steps, driftwood drying,
planks and ply, with sticks
and oddments of branches. A bed, barely,
a bolster of chalk juts out
and the bank beyond is coated in sea-coal.
And here, under the embankment
whose weed, raked by the low sun,
shines a jewel-like and startling green,
the river has hoarded its finest materials.
The sand has no inkling of life,
tatters of wrack, cockleshell, papery claw,
but is London milled to its conclusion.
One handful comprehends history.
The grains are greyish, lenticular, anonymous,
softly heaped in a pocket resort
ignored by the people whose feet,
as numerous as these, pass overhead.
Now through that press, at last,
I can feel my way by a thread,
the wide stream stringing
running low, showing the shoals
that ridge it, or full and glittering,
within a hands reach, seemingly,
pulsive, restless steel;
can find the place to heal, and sanctuary
which tides accumulate and cancel.
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