Roger West

Pas de Calais

This hard-won and weary battlegrounded land. Plough and harrow, marrowed bones, blood dug deep. Old wounds weep anew in this charnel house of memories. Wind turbines, sub-nosed as Spitfires, slice up the air but can’t disperse that salty tang, the drift of sea fret and tear gas. Now razor wire sprouts in the fields as new battles are waged against a people pushed to the edge. The sulphurous blast of the passenger ferries drowns out the rattle of batons. Just outside town a lone seagull flies the length of the canal, dipping its wings like a Lancaster Bomber. Trees along the towpath bow their heads in remembrance.