Saturday 22 May 1993
We pulled away the razor wire, pushed the fencing
flat, and we were in, then up, then on, all
two hundred of us, swarming above the valley
on the girders of their Bailey bridge.
All night we banged out rhythms with whatever tools
we had to hand: we made the metal sing,
brought forth a chime, a knell, a toll,
a resounding reverberation, a peal;
with measured strokes we struck the bracing
frames as if they’d been cast from bell metal.
From beneath our huddled silhouettes, all
across the landscape you could hear the bridge
finding the colour of its voice, rejoicing.
The toll rings out across the valley still.
Emma Must was imprisoned for trying to stop a motorway being built through Twyford Down in Hampshire, near where she grew up. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Notes on the Use of the Austrian Scythe (2015), won the Templar Portfolio Award.