Bridges, branches, jetties, even the hazy bulk

Of an orange-bellied tanker

To me look amphibious, anything

Partly submerged in water

Like a fossil stretching its legs.

Shaking off

The amniotic swell,

They emerged from the deep

Dream of an irresponsible god,

Ready to assume the world

Before doubt or fate left them stranded

Like shadows of some former self.

When I first saw the charred skeleton

Of Brighton West Pier it seemed

Like a brief evolutionary detour.

Dwarfing the bipedal form

Splashing in its wake, the spiny

Thorax of the pavilion was a mummified

Example of fantastical proportion, its beams

The skittish legs of a prehistoric ancestor.

Only when the human structure extended

A bony limb for balance did I wonder

If unseen eyes imagined

It abandoned to rust, a lazy hulk pitifully

Stillborn. Cities, statues, monuments

Began to seem premature, scaffolding

For unknown specimens to invent their past.

Now ribcages look ossified

And touchingly forlorn.