Wild strawberries push through the cracks, their redness laid-out on the concrete leaving a juicy thought on my tongue. My taste buds remember the flavour: a yearning swiftly swept aside to be ignored, for I tread among frail trees and brambles feeding on arsenic,
to where rainbows shimmer in the puddles, while fumes pervade the drizzle, the mist of particles that dampens the dust from a bygone industry and soon turns into icy summer showers that conspire to drench us – until, shivering, we enter
vast enclosed spaces echoing with the glassy sound of droplets falling into shallow pools of toxic water, where the boilers slumber. Rows of rusting bellies topped with pale ferns and moss evoke the flakiness of puff-pastry, beneath signs and notices to absent workers
shouting about asbestos, damaging noise likely to burrow through eardrums, and high voltage now vanished as the cut, frayed cables lay coiled in corridors and standing water and – I glimpse a welding glove patiently digested in mud never to be decontaminated,
then follow the others, up stretching, straining stairs, through metal doors wedged open into bent smiles addressed to no one. From the roof, inch-deep in wet ashes, we marvel at the creepers’ eagerness to cover up the past industrial grandeur with silence, shattered
when barking resounds between the gutted buildings and we scramble, seek refuge among tools and machinery wrapped in cobwebs, watching over a circle of downy feathers on a workbench. Through shattered window panes, a Buddleia beckons. Time to go
into dripping undergrowth where twigs and thorns clutch and scratch like the barbed wire from the fence. Stumbling among young dying trees snapping like kindling, along brooks of unnatural hue, I crush the once-enticing berries, wondering – was that the future?
B. Anne Adriaens is mainly a fiction writer, though she regularly feels the need to complement her prose with poetry, as the latter allows for a different type of expression. Yet whether her writing takes the form of a dystopian story (often with a fantastical twist) or a poem inspired by her wanderings, it tends to reflect her concerns about pollution, diversity depletion and the environment in general, depicting a world where society as we know it has collapsed. She’s currently working on a novel entitled The Past is but a Song, which weaves several narrative strands into a tapestry spanning many centuries, from medieval past to anticipated future.
Online, you can contact her via her blog https://nualarayne.wordpress.com/ , Facebook under B Anne Adriaens and Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/b-anne-adriaens/ , where you will find (among other things) photos of the derelict places which inspired her.