The number 79
turns unexpectedly
homeward, by the Fire Museum;
oblique, the windows transpose
the hoarding opposite:
‘Photographs make great gifts’.

*

Inside the exclusion zone
the tongues of weeds are blistered,
their foreheads clumped with fat
red, raspberry orchid blooms;
the rusted shutter paint
peeling like open sores.

*

The high-sided student block
is out of place round here
and has no character.
The worn brick sheds, instead
are right at home, but have
no characters inside.

*

The sign-board shows the plan
of the former rolling mill;
but other than the crowns
of groundsel interspersing
the slabs like chessmen,
there’s no sense left of order.

*

Cobbles refloat through tarmac;
beneath, the water mains
and sewage pipes and telephone
and power lines, although
disjointed at each end,
await a second life.

*

Listen to Oliver Mantell reading his poems on location here.