The final relic this year is by Harriet Hill, a potent reminder of the Greenham Common protests that started in 1981, The Women's Peace Camp. The sculpture containing a piece clipped from the perimeter fence, has been placed on the monument to martyrs Elias Thacker and John Copping who were hanged in 1583 for their principles.
The Quiet Relics
To think of all the stories that we’ll leave
unearthed, unheard; a perfect skimming stone,
the soil-drowned bones of garden birds,
the boarding card still holding someone’s page,
all left, unclaimed. Listen. A twisted loop
of fence pressed like a seashell to your ear
so you can hear the waves of female voices,
thick with rage, the campfires’ spit and crackle
like a thousand quiet, angry hearths,
the faint staccato of the cutters, cutting
at the fence. Only in silence you can hear
the hum of ordinary stones, unsacred
scraps of wire and slate, driftwood and bone,
each coursing with unknown significance,,
each keeping unfound secrets of its own.
The fence knows…
… about the whirr of a B-29 overhead,
how a man inside, who’d named the plane after his mother,
pressed a button,
and the Little Boy fell,
twisting children going to school
In a flash, a buzzing city became flattened ash.
The fence knows that they did it again,
launched Fat Man from another plane,
turning toddlers playing nursery games to dust.
heads split open,
Another 100,000 lives gone.
The fence knows that years later men still toyed
with machines that kill,
enough to eradicate the world.
Stored them near a crowded city,
building an enclosure
the weapons, not the people.
The fence knows about the women who walked from Wales
to demonstrate their disgust.
Later 30,000 joined hands, sang songs,
encircled the chilling base within,
held up mirrors to reflect it back,
dressed as teddy bears, to
stir some feeling, memories.
The fence knows about the women weeping
and weeping and weeping
because it was the only thing left to do.
They’d cut the fence,
pulled it down,
and still the icy mindlessness endured.
Harriet Hill is based in South East London. She creates sculpture, site-specific installation and interactive live art that responds to the visceral qualities of materials, physical space and social frameworks. These may be structural, spatial, experiential or tactile. She is interested in the way these elements affect us and how they can be manipulated.
Working in a playful and dynamic way she uses evocative materials such as elastic, cardboard, felt and tape. She creates sculpture or contextual drawings that stimulate narrative through using the installation space as part of the work. By revealing or highlighting what is already there a viewer’s perception of an object and it's environment can be shifted or changed.
Anna Kibbey is a British writer living in London with her husband and two children. She is studying with Ella Frears at CityLit, and has published work in magazines and journals in the US and UK. You can find more of her poetry on Instagram at @by_annakibbey
S.A. MacLeod's short stories have appeared in The London Reader, Northwords Now, Pulp Net and the Fish Anthology. Since the pandemic she has been writing poetry that has been published by Coin-Operated Press and longlisted by The Butcher's Dog. Born in the north of Scotland, she spent seven years working in Japan and is now based in South London. She is interested in creative work that speaks out against oppression.
I am an artist and the curator for grove and groving. This blog is groving online, and records the artworks placed on the streets of Bury St Edmunds along with responses to the work by commissioned writers.