Sue Hubbard was commissioned to write this poem by the Arts Council and British Film Institute for the Waterloo underpass leading to the IMAX cinema in London.
by Sue HubbardI am not afraid as I descend, step by step, leaving behind the salt wind blowing up the corrugated river, the damp city streets, their sodium glare of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain; for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon. Already your face recedes beneath the station clock, a damp smudge among the shadows mirrored in the train's wet glass, will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out past cranes and crematoria, boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud, the rows of curtained windows like eyelids heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge. Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear. Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair. You turned to look. Second fly past like birds. My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud. This path unravels. Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping. Above the hurt sky is weeping, soaked nightingales have ceased to sing. Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue. I dream of a green garden where the sun feathers my face like your once eager kiss. Soon, soon I will climb from this blackened earth into the diffident light.