The poem’s 24 equal-length lines represent the 24 floors of Grenfell Tower. It is written in memory of all who died three years ago, and in honour of the families, local residents, campaigners and advocates who continue to fight for justice.
The old Lombardic for guard, guerin: gren;
and the French word for settlement, ville: fell.
But between pink bloom-blushes of the June
night and morning, a new splinter of hell
pushed its way up and onto the skyline.
The hatches were loose, not battened down well
enough to keep the flames of corporate sin
at bay. For years they’d licked and jumped through all
those bent cracks between promise and action.
Now they bit into their human stubble.
If you were told it was your family’s turn
to put the children on a carousel
without tight bolts, without belts, would the fun
be worth it? If signed up to play football,
would you care about the hidden land-mine?
So why stand ready to die or be killed
for this vast tungsten ocean, this ribbon
of lights on the West Way? Truth is, until
power is held by its ankles upside down,
the comfortable have their back to the wall,
and justice pours down like the summer rain,
then shadows of emptiness and charcoal
will stretch like policies across this town.
Stay put, in that home, that circle, that school.
Photo: The Platform
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