The Planks

Then we stopped trying
to read the new town under
signs of the old town.

Here are the pictures,
how it was then, the view now,
before and after.

The artisan’s shop
will go here, you can smell it;
fresh paint, old baskets.

Here is the former
manor, the house gone. Here is
the sunken garden.

Taking down the park,
leaving the icehouse; the lakes,
railings and gateposts.

The dance hall, the town
hall, the trade hall; one by one,
they fell off the hill.

They put up hoardings
to hide the ruin. No one
wants a reminder.

The court. For ten years,
a husk. Smoke catches the beams,
settles around us.

What is it used for,
the old lending library,
why can’t you go in?

They shut the hotel,
then waited, then they replaced
it with the hotel.

It stood there for years,
the town’s masonic centre,
and nobody knew.

Swindon, 6-8 September 2013

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