The below poem is taken from Will Stone’s latest poetry collection, The Slowing Ride, published by Shearsman last autumn.
The Bunkers at Wissant
Once they were masters of the horizon, the steel of their blast doors shone, the barrels in their clean mouths moved confidently side to side, up and down. Loyal minions fussed around them, made ready their metal honeycomb. Like leashed dogs they awaited their walk, through storms or on clear starry nights when a low moon kissed their bald crowns. But the invasion passed around them, guns torn out, they were abandoned. Hollow and silent, they remained rooted like trees condemned with a cross. Resignedly they rebranded themselves as lavatories, a mortuary for tramps. Then they began to sink, pitch forward, livestock drawn to drink the mere waters through their half-moon embrasures. Partially submerged, as if in limbo they are unable to retreat or move on. Old men fish beside their senile forms, on their grey hide in white paint ‘Baignade Interdite’, but in summer swimmers lay their towels there, to steam on the baking concrete.