top of page
Image by Annie Spratt


the madrigal, volume iii

Iron Men

gaynor kane, after Another Place, Antony Gormley’s sculptures at Crosby Beach

Odurate figures made of hematite, pyrite, ilmenite.

                Iron ore - found in the sun, stars, planets.

Humans deface them, paint them, suffocate them

                under plastic, decorate them in football scarves

and jester hats. Gulls shit on their heads.
                Nature embellishes with lichen and barnacle jewels.

One Iron Man transitions, pink tutu softens angles,
                while prudish people avert eyes from nakedness.

Sculpted eyes have nothing else to do but stare
                at iron-like tankers smoothing flat-sheet horizon.

Some days, rough truffle foam waves, batter

               iron men in a stew of oystercatchers.

Some evenings, silhouetted torsos observe

              white windmills rhythmically rotating

before sunset under navy and orange clouds.
              In the new dawn, sunrise behind their backs,

a containership sails slowly west, waves mesmerise,

              swooping gulls enthrall, worries swept away in sway.

During winter hightides, Mermaids come at night.

Their long locks trailing behind them through seaweed

and sleeping shoals to wrap their tails around metal legs.

To place hot kisses on cold lips.

To sing songs to ferric figures

in hope of metamorphosis.

When the iron men come alive, they wake up slowly,

savouring smooches, learning to feel warmth of touch.

They see moonbeams lighting up the seabed
and waltz under waves, spinning sea-creatures;

enchanted by their beauty, golden tresses swirling,

coral lips pouting, shimmering iridescent scales.

Tomorrow the tanker will pass again
and they will wonder if it was all a dream.

More info at

bottom of page