Giant

rugeley power station

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 13

Beating the bounds
of untamed North
and pliant South
hulking milecastles
dominated the frontier
between the ventricles
of England’s heart

footfalls of
an English giant
devouring the distance
from Meaford to Keadby
in thirteen strides.

Rugeley, Drakelow
Willington, Staythorpe
High Marnham
West Burton, Cottam
dust now, or soon
imprinted barrows
of once-puissant King Coal
and his slain divisions
buried where they fell.

Prostrated monuments
to technology’s white heat
furnaces quenched
for the last time
so that one day
the idling Trent
may once more
freeze in winter.

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14 thoughts on “Giant

      1. Just because I knew it so well, I guess. Also, as David (commenting here) will attest, there’s a savage beauty about the confluence of the Dove and the Trent near Willington. It’s an eerie place.

        We used to pick blackberries near the old bailey bridge at Walton, so Drakelow is also a favourite.

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      2. My dad worked at Willington from opening to close, 30+ years of shift work took their toll and the cooling towers have great meaning to me now, you might like the pics i’m just about to tweet…

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      3. I can’t say I was sad to see Drakelow fall: it dominated the Trent valley at Burton so aggressively, rising out of the low river valley, there seemed to be no space left. But my, it went with a bang not a whimper! A new power plant is planned I understand, but it will be low lying. Rugeley on the other hand I see from afar; with Cannock Chase as its hinterland and the low spur of hills around the River Blyth ahead of it. It’s still concrete and ugly in an absolute sense but somehow its setting grows round it, softens its edges.

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      4. I know what you mean, David. All a bit claustrophobic.

        Talking of Rugeley, another favourite spot is where Ash Brook meets the Blithe near Bromley Hurst. It’s a good place for catching brownies.

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  1. Another one that I enjoyed greatly: this one has a different feel to the others somewhat. More of a lament perhaps at a past that is no longer visible (this is always deeply upsetting when this happens I think. Whether it is an elderly copse that had been cut down for housing or an old building that has been with me since my earliest memory) or is it, I wonder a lament for a time when we respected and stood in awe of the power of science and engineering? I do love the nod towards the burial of the celtic kings and the burial of an age of great engineering.

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  2. Excellent work, Julian. You possess a very innate, Wordsworthian feeling for “man upon the land” and a very distinctive voice all your own.

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      1. You’re quite welcome, Julian. Are you on Facebook? I’d like to add you to my poetry group there if you are. If not, let’s keep in touch on WordPress. Cheers, from N. CA.

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