In Shady Cloisters (IP)
Once upon a Battersea skyline, it towered –
this powerhouse of electricity, for over 40 years
till 1975. A Grade II listed building; the largest
brick-built structure, in Europe, of its kind. Within
its marbled walls, boys grew into men... at 21,
indentured apprentices all. Hogweed and Hemlock,
the only things grow here now. Gone, most of its roof,
and the four, historic chimneys – in jeopardy. Resigned
to history – Art Deco, stained-glass windows, once
graced the Great Turbine Hall, where generators
whirred and whined for the National Grid...Today,
the cawing of crows, and the slip and the slap
of the Thames, sound a poignant homily.
An iconic flagship of its time, left to rot –
reduced to rubble, for as long as it once stood,
whilst developers argue the toss; a theme park,
a shopping mall, or another gallery. It deserves
far better than this; best it fades in a haze of dust...
retains its dignity to leave me with my memories
of how, as a lad, beneath shady, cloistered arches,
I longed for the siren at the end of every shift,
but not half as much as I long to hear it now.
The end of an era – that coal-fired generation;
the name of the game, so the government says,
is nuclear and wind-power. But what do we do
when the wind doesn’t blow, and we’re sick
to death of radiation, and the lights are off,
but everybody’s home?