it is the fourteenth of December
twenty twenty-one
and somebody has chalked the word Hope
across three paving slabs
outside Peter’s Fish Factory
on Margate Parade.

two hours later, drinking tomato juice
at the back of a Weatherspoon’s
and i can’t get that chalked-up word
out of my mind. nor the purple light
that bled evenly over the seafront before
darkness arrived like a staid matron
compressing the sky with a black bandage.

back in London, politicians
with discounted beer on their breath
line up to vote again on the story of our lives.

nothing is more democratic than light.
the sun is the star of protest. when
we fall on pavements it sharpens
the word Hope so that we might see it;
chalked-up by somebody who knows
the darkness of its absence.

Eugene O’Hare was shortlisted for the 2021 poetry prize at Belfast Book Festival. Recent poems have appeared in CyphersSmoke, Dedalus Press, Invisible City and others. Also a
playwright, he lives in London.