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Hadrian's Ghost

Rosebay willow herb –
summer’s pink is loosening
to weightless white down

     spider lines muss the folds
     of your floppy sun hat

light cascades –    
star circles rest
in the warm night

     twisted sheets
     at dawn

cold sweat –
leaves through the bars
carpet the concrete

     surging through stripped trees
     sinking into mush

deception, deceit –
his devotion to coldness
deep as a ditch

     horse teeth, long tongue
     beauty of the bike shed

gleaming might
commands the river –
scenery slips by

     fixed on the wall
     bald orange head

Hadrian’s ghost
walks the line –
protecting stones

     squares of light
     seep through the fog

compacted air
choking the dancers –
the beats throb

     is it his heart
     drumming through the church?

falls so late it bumps into
Mayday, the pagan

     forget me not
     forget me not

a year of dust –
the chintz endures
another spring clean

     the old woman
     drinks her tea.

an 18 verse renga in Summer
Walbottle Campus (Pupils of Years 11 and 13)
September  5, 2003
from Sea to Sea: Renga Along Hadrian’s Wall

Ken Cockburn, Master Poet
Alec Finlay, Host poet
Miles Thurlow
Sheree Mack
Morven Gregor
Kate Henderson Y13
Rebecca Boyd Y13
Leanne Conway Y13
Jane Allen Y11
Hayley Wright Y11
Louise Wallbanks Y11
Jon Aydon Y11
Laura Hollocks Y11
Laura Steventon Y11
Lauren Bromley Y11