by Jenny Hamlett


At night Penglaze roams the streets,
clacking his bone jaws, nodding his white skull.

Only a dead horse’s skull and a black cloak on a stick,
but we believe, stay inside, barely part the curtains.

Dawn brings Mazey Day with traffic barred from the town.
Railings are a green spindrift of branches.

Stalls compete for space in Market Jew Street.
A man, creamed-white like a clown, becomes a statue

until one robot arm jerks out. Puppets, tall as houses,
march behind deafening drummers. Artifice,

yet children walk on stilts, natural as water flowing through roots,
wearing their thick red smiles as if they were their own.

We turn down towards the harbour looking for a place to sit,
find it, in a ring of magic silence.

Beyond the shouts and laughter of tanked-up drinkers,
beyond the thudding of the band

a Madonna creates her own space. People keep away
where a young girl nurses her baby, sitting on the curb in Chapel Street.