El Medol, Tarragona

Clare Morris works for The Blue Nib as an Editor at Large and regularly collaborates with the abstract artist, Nigel Bird (www.nigel-bird.com). Much of her poetry is written in response to the environment. She is currently working on a historical novel which focuses on 9th century Britain and takes the elegy Wulf and Eadwacer as its starting point. She and her husband live in Devon so that they can always put the cream on first.


El Mèdol, Tarragona




The full-throated blare and glare of the CN 340 tears through the August morning,
Service station palms frolic fitfully like ostrich feathers in the hands of wayward girls,
While, deep below, the Via Augusta traces its imperial lineage along antique channels. 


Tarraco’s limestone, too workaday for Rome’s elite, 
Bears its slave stripes keenly, its golden tones, 
Marbled in pink and white, sole testament to its provenance. 


The percussive beat of feet on gravel falls silent at the sudden shock of the witness column,
Twenty metres of rough-hewn rock measuring the depth of quarried stone
And quarried flesh, marked by toil and unmarked in death.


My hand cold against the stone stays shackled to my modernity,
No murmuring of ancestral voices speaks to my alien heart,
Silence seals around me like a second skin.

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