|“Eternity is now” said Richard Jefferies.
Like its Moonraker cousins
Swindon shows its best face to itselfSon of French Revolution refugee Brunel
enticed Welsh miners to navvy railways
starting Swindon as a mini-city of sanctuary
Like a scratched record
media jibes circle our Magic Roundabout.
Whether thirty three and a third or mp3
it’s the same old song, Making Plans for Nigel
or Alone Again Naturally; Swindon revolves
Swindon revolves, Swindon evolves
In town centre, mangelwurzel workers
once walked on water along Canal Walk
over Golden Lion Bridge.
Thousands engineered world class steam trains
hot-bedded Railway Village, danced, acted,
played snooker, in their Mechanics’ Institute. Eternity was then
Since 1854, The Western Players play on.
Since 1919, the Great Western Railway Running Sheds’
Male Voice Choir, has sung to Swindon
Rolled off Swindon assembly lines
Spitfires, Garrard record decks
beloved by Beatles, Elvis and the BBC;
Triumph bras and 2000s, Rovers, BMW minis
and – new kid on the block – two million car Honda
all provenance Pressed Steel and Rail Insiders’ skills
sweated and delivered between hooter blasts
Newport Street’s 1890 thatched cottages
give way today, to Subway take-away.
In 1905, Albert Edward Tunley artfully advertised
on trams trundling down Regent Street where today
revellers spill, onto Swindon streets.
Remember the Morris 1100 and Roy Cartwright
who hides on Facebook in plain sight,
who Pressed Steel and welded hundreds of door hinges
Salute today, two days before his retirement
sixty six year old Council Worker Eric
as he empties Eldene rubbish bins
In memory of a young man’s passing
two all-weather table tennis tables
invigorate Quarry Road play park;
earphoned Indian Subcontinent IT experts
walk Old Town to Intel
as Volunteer Vera leads “Nights In
White Satin” singing with Swindon elders
Evolving from small town to vibrant global melting pot
Eternity is now. Arkell’s, Deacons, Nationwide, Zurich,
Iceland. Turkish barbers, Goan workers, Middle East
boat people, may Harbour here
with Different Pasts, Shared Futures
welcomed in Swindon, City of Sanctuary.
Swindon’s Community Poet, Tony Hillier, September 2016
This poem was commissioned by Pebley Beach for Swindon 175 and launched at the Poetry Swindon Festival event, Sisters in Spitfires, Monday October 3 2016.
www.pebley.co.uk www.poetryswindon.org www.swindon175.com