Sunday, 29 June 2008

Bear pit

Through the portcullis gate that can still be drawn closed, I stand encircled by high damp stone walls and the quiet chill of a riddle. 

A girl runs into this circle singing joyfully. I am wondering if she has seen me. She runs anti clockwise around the wall reaching out with one stroking hand. I hear it's odd scrape. She climbs into a low narrow window - the kind you could shoot a surprise arrow from. She squeezes right into the recess like she has no joints, no skull, no length to her feet. Then she is gone, flown out of that thin slit of light. Her parents are calling her name.

Later, I look from high walls down into this dungeon. Imprisoned by stone, they will chain you, taunt you, make you dance. Missiles rain down from all directions. Screaming voices rise, eager for the kill. 


This piece was influenced by a visit to Sheffield Botanical Gardens where there is a Bear Pit which housed 2 bears until the 1870's. They were removed after a child fell into the pit and was killed.