STAR POems: Ishiguro on the Spinnaker Tower

Looking up from the base of the tower
I see a blue rectangle in the viewing deck
one hundred metres above me.
The swoop of the sails’ belly
is white against the sky.
Red lights decorate the height
of the tower – for passing aircraft to miss.

The structure is an overweight skeleton;
its ribs are barren of any flesh,
its midriff as hollow as the breeze.
I consider over five hundred steps
leading to the open crow’s nest
from which I could abseil the drop
to the Gunwharf decking.

I decide to take the inside lift.
The panoramic lift has rarely worked
because the design of its curved path,
that sweeps from just beneath the tip
to a thick wedge at The Water Margin,
gets fouled with seagull debris
and it will not glide as intended.

On arrival I step on to the glass floor.
Its thickness doesn’t stop
the giddiness of standing on air.
Figures of people strolling to restaurants
are unaware of how small they look.
Tonight the constructors are gathered
to pay homage to a decade of concrete.

I offer my observations.
We celebrate the hurdles overcome
to create the highlight of the outlet stores
and proof of British innovation.
We listen to imposing tonnage,
budget dramas and the time to make it;
statistics as empty as its ribcage.