A Tower In Silence

Since I lived in the shadow of Grenfell in the 70s in what is now the 'Latymer Christian Centre' the tragedy has moved me more than I can adequately express

Here's a pome comparing Grenfell with the Parsi towers of silence.


"A Tower In Silence"

High above the city
On Malabar Hill, Mumbai
Stands a mist caressed silent tower

A shrine of mystery
Where carrion birds flock to feast
On reverently prepared
Cadavers of former dignitaries
And indigent beggars
Awaiting ravening beak and claw,
To soar as high as eagles fly.
Or become flesh of vultures flesh

A tower of awful silence
Stands proud over Latimer Road.
A cemetery of souls
Poor and poorer- the world in miniature
Children, fathers, aged mothers
Tenants, undocumented others
Sacrificed at an altar where
Avarice is the key
And profit is the deity.

The twisted charred remains
Of those awaiting liberation
Waving sheets to gain attention
At smoke obscured windows
Before the flash of fire
Rendered them flesh of flesh
Carbonised, inseparable
From scorched rag clothes
Poundshop plastic kitchenware
Cheap carpeting, cheese-plants,
Beds, bookcases, pots and pans
And BrightHouse flat screen televisions
Now wait for springer spaniel noses

Some will be found, counted, toe-tagged
Anonymous in sombre body bags
Taken down to earth
Laid in earth
To slowly return to earth
As the thickening fog of lawyers' lies
And legal niceties
Gives the guilty
Liberty to shut their ears to children's cries
Wash their hands and walk stain free

The silent tower stands
Blackened stark
A wordless victims' epitaph

🌷 (3)

◄ Inconsequential Death of a Hermit


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Rick Gammon

Sun 18th Jun 2017 17:15

Colin - your found pound tale!
A son traumatised for life.
Worth it?
A thousand times over ha ha πŸ˜ƒ

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Colin Hill

Sun 18th Jun 2017 12:52

5 quid!! for 2 dozen books!!

on a family holiday some years back we descended Clovelly's cobbly street to the lifeboat station by the harbour where my young son found and pocketed a one pound coin on the floor behind the RNLI collection bin outside. We've never let him forget how that pocketed one pound has cost the lives of so many seafarers over the years! How did we get on to this?

Colin Hill is now out for lunch πŸ˜ƒ

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Rick Gammon

Sun 18th Jun 2017 12:39

re 'not quite rhymes' - I was doing some poetry in cafes in Robin Hood's Bay last week - gave away over 2 dozen books (in return for 5 quids for charity - RNLI) anyhow - there was a woman listening who appreciated poetry and I paused a few times to highlight my 'rather elegant' (to my mind) assonances.
How we laughed πŸ˜„

Well, re title change - you bowled the ball - it was easy to hit πŸ˜„

I've done a fair bit o' last verse switching - maybe it's better now...for now...?

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Colin Hill

Sun 18th Jun 2017 12:27

a poet and a tinker - I know how annoying the itch can be.

'stark' and 'epitaph' work well together btw. Words that sound similar but are not exact rhymes are harder to find - but I have said it before, you wear them well. Poems can be greatly enhanced this way, a subtler tone and flow achieved with the right combination.

like the title change - even better than my suggestion πŸ˜ƒ

p.s. just caught your p.s.. yuck!

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Rick Gammon

Sun 18th Jun 2017 12:17

Well, Colin - re the closing verses - I just edited a bit as you wrote πŸ˜ƒ - they kind of sit there and itch a bit - so I tinker - maybe in a few revisions I'll have them right.

Your title is better than mine too - I've modified it πŸ˜ƒ

p.s. The high rise apartments in Mumbai (taller than the Parsi towers) now suffer from vultures dropping bit of bodies onto their balconies - that'll spoil anyone's al fresco din dins :)

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Colin Hill

Sun 18th Jun 2017 11:58

gosh, I never knew about those towers of silence - Google has some powerful images and your use as a comparison is commendable and thought provoking.

I have also been thinking how this building now resembles a towering catacomb - if there is such a non-subterranean equivalent - in the way the blown out windows now look like recesses for tombs and of course we all know what lies inside.

There are comparisons also with other excarnation practices - Tibetan sky and Comanche platform burials - but perhaps we shouldn't allow ourselves to take the analogy too far for fear of being disrespectful.

I know you are highly critical of your own work Rick. I was wondering how you felt about the last two verses, whether or not they 'drifted' a little?

I think this poem is excellent and stands adequately on its own without the introduction. Perhaps the reference to your own historical association could have been incorporated into the poem towards the end? 'Tower of Silence' would have been my choice for title.

all the best,

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Rick Gammon

Sat 17th Jun 2017 23:53

Well,Keith - this brings into stark relief the chasm between the 'haves' and 'won't ever haves' - the former have much to answer for - thanks for your kind words πŸ˜ƒ

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keith jeffries

Sat 17th Jun 2017 22:02

Hello Rick, This poem echoes the words of the Queen who today spoke of the sombre mood which has engulfed the nation. I hope her words and the the words of your poem will advance peopleΒ΄s thinking when it comes to the way we so readily dismiss the voices of the poor and dispossessed at the expense of those who show them nothing but disdain. Thank you for this. Keith

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Rick Gammon

Sat 17th Jun 2017 21:12

I do not do stuff about contemporary issues but this subject is timeless in the dismissal of the poor as less than human.

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