Monday, 17 July 2017


Today our north was promised a broken future.

It made the news.

It made us cry.

I see the monster viaduct, the swathes of sweetness, cow parsley and paddock, cut by knives of ringing rails.

HS2 is coming to harm and haunt us.

I am feeling furious for the fields;
for the warren of whirling windfarm blades spinning in breezes on Penny Hill at Ulley;
for Thurcroft and the southern reaches of my Wickersley on her upland plain;
for Broadlands at Bramley;
for Hellaby, Braithwell, Firsby Reservoir;
for Hooton Roberts, where Vaughan Williams played croquet, learned the apple tree's lean on Linden Lea;
for Conisborough, its castled keep and bailey;
for Denaby Main, split by something more sinister than pick and pit;
for the floodplains of my beloved Dearne;
the Shimmer estate in Mexborough, cloven in half and hammered flat;

I am feeling heartbreak for my heartland;
for the souls caught in the soulless march of money;
for those whose homes will be demolished;
for those whose babies must be relocated;
for those whose children will be uprooted from familiar schools for classes across an alienating distance,
leaving friends in mixed up mayhem.

I am grieving
for lost lads and lasses, their amenities, homes, communities gone;
for the disabled, the disadvantaged, the disoriented poor,
facilities snatched away, shattered, scattered,
subjected to demolition, compulsory purchased;

I am up in arms
for people's daily lives razed by arbitrary mandates from on high;
for our farms, our wildlife, our fragile habitats, noble nature,
irreplaceable treasures destroyed on a whim;
for our woods, our blessed places, our countryside,
green fields that will be gone
when HS2 belts blazing through.

It will not stop to nod to us,
nor note our tears,
the absence of bat, newt and bumblebee,
the wandering death of hedgehogs.

Shame on greed.

Shame on the gravy train.

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