Poetry: Bilbao by Frances Holloway


Here we go merrily
playing coffin games again
the dead will out
Have you seen the glass furnaces of Bilbao?
How pretty in the sky at night
those hypnotising spumes of purple green and blue
but oh how putrid her river
How many times have we buried her now?
and each times she acquiesces
the guest of honour at a pleasant gathering
The sisters always present and apparently in league
inventing new party games
making speeches
and all the cleaning up to be done after
With those sunken Spanish eyes still-lidded
she watches over her own funeral
and all the grief that should accompany
these occasions
these goings on
has been dispatched to some other place
and all the love I feel for her takes a different face
Bilbao, queen of the industrial age
subsided into decadence and crime
El Ayuntamiento is trying
but do the dead
ever really walk again?
She should have been queen of a much nicer family
our lives might have resolved splendidly then
around the solid centre of her private world
her inner churnings and grumblings
might have taught us how to live with ourselves
how to overthrow tyrants
and make a good Christmas cake
But we sided with the tyrants
and mass produced our toxic thought forms
Now I have to keep burying her night after night.
Bilbao is © Frances Holloway

frances holloway

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