Tag Archives: witnessing

notes and sketches: recalling witness

The 5th February 2004 was my son’s 8th birthday. That evening a group of Chinese illegal workers were taken by gang masters to dig for cockles in Morecambe Bay, just behind our house. It is not known exactly how many were in the cockling group.

The bay was our playground, although – like all locals – we were hugely respectful of its power. The tides of the bay are as notorious and treacherous as the sinking sands beneath. They have always followed obscure patterns, often remaining invisible until the sands are completely encircled.

21 bodies were recovered in the following days. One further body was found in 2010. It is understood at least one is still missing.

Washing up

Was I the last
 to see you all 
alive?

What was it you saw?

A white woman 
framed in a glow of warm kitchen

as the dark closed in

after the boy’s birthday

washing up

bitter

to February’s rapacious tide

of traffic 
flooding

our quiet lane accustomed

to hoof fall still

I couldn’t believe you would

at this time of year

at this time of night

‘They’ll turn back’, I thought

as I turned my back

and sank – cockled – into the sofa

before


I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

Morning’s milk was marooned

on the cold stone sill

isolated

by the tickertape yelling

INCIDENT

at our front gate

All day
 the helicopters circled

high over the swelling stream

of panda cars

vehicles stuck with antennae

casting views 
from window to television set

flocks of ambulances

arriving hopefully

leaving silently

We sold the house

We found we could no longer play

on the shore without

thinking of you
 and the

washing up

©Kyra Pollitt 2004


sheila sea

like thalassic velvet

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