The Unveiling

Wendy Sullivan

(Hector Peterson: the First Child Statue by Raymond
Watson, commissioned by the 198 Gallery and erected at the
cormer of Max Roach Park in Brixton, South London).

Rain fell
But not bullets
We were wet
But not gunned down

I was in Brixton
Not Soweto,
Waiting without fear
For the unveiling -

Unsmiling but unarmed
Two policemen only;
Children running free
All races, you and me.

Speeches, singing and a prayer
Beneath a grey unbrella's sky
Heaven spilling over tears
As that sad bad time revived.

Finally the welded truth
Shaped steel, life size proof -
A woman holding up her son
*(a brother holding up his brother)
a bundle without hope of youth.

Children on the run
Casualties of hate
Abuse, intimidation:
This tribute - a retribution

I shake the sculptor's hand
Whose fingers touched and
Transformed this ugly fact
Into a work of art.

'A brother holding up his brother:' the phortograph
on which the sculpture is based has Hector Peterson's
brother carrying him (16 June 1974)

E-mail Wendy

Panic! Poets

Panic! Art Gallery