The Westwood Cooling Towers – Execution Day

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that flawless diptych of minimalism
simplistic architectural precision
a colossal condiment set
an arresting landmark
once commanding respect
the sentry gateway 
guarding the trodden ceremonial
pulverised-fuel-ashed path
to Westwood’s curious
and unnatural landscape

those impeccable twins who were
Wigan’s Colossi of Memnon
were sadly and rarely respected
seldom treasured
their utilitarian days long forgotten

the twins silently fed us
invisibly assisting
in fuelling our town
with precious energy
to satisfy our whims
and necessities  
then finally they sat in silence
in anticipation of agreeable retreat
and hushed solitude...

but alas convicted without trial

the cock crowed 
to herald the dawn
of the fateful day
the morning of mass voyeurism
when the multitudes assembled
with unsettling enthusiasm
jockeying for position
some with optimum seating
some with whips  
others happy to spy from afar
with binoculars 
like peeping toms
ignorant of heritage
viewing with outlandish naivety 
oddly amused
exchanging mocking chit-chat

finally those identical twins tumbled
thankfully death was swift
and in those death throes 
smoke signals spoke prose
as the initial horizontal gust 
asked for help
and that final lofty plume 
in desperation
begged that we remember

sadly most were reluctant 
to allow that last request
while only scant 
sincere tears followed
and with nauseating cheers 
they wallowed
fascinated by death
and the twins’ final breath

Haigh Plantations: 1860 to 2017; games, nature and Phytophthora ramorum ►


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J R Harris

Tue 2nd Jan 2018 10:27

Thank you for your observations and kind comments. I like to write about things that are either dear to me or cause me some concern. Heritage is especially important to me. So is nature. Continually treasured buildings, structures and landscapes are destroyed without consideration or sentiment. I was recently in Barcelona and pleased to see that the old bullring (Las Arenas) has been preserved and given a more suitable identity. As bullfighting became increasingly more of a concern, this architectural masterpiece could have been lost... but now it provides leisure activities, performance venues, shopping, restaurants and much more. You also get a wonderful panoramic view of the city from the roof. So with a little imagination.........

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Mon 1st Jan 2018 21:33

I think of the Euston Arch and its vandals - many gasometers too; and these quite graceful impressive structures have been coming down in many places recently - an apparent embarrassment to local authorities. Homes will spring up like toadstools in place of oaks of course.

Nice piece of writing J.R.


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Stu Buck

Mon 1st Jan 2018 19:58

brilliant imagery. i love the mental pictures this paints in my mind, as if the building were a lumbering, mythical behemoth finally brought down by the teeming humans with ropes and picks. like an clipped, urban gullivers travels. thanks for this, a fine way to start reading in 2018

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