The twins of Catalonia

Beyond the flames, the crowd, the jeers,
lie silent, timeless through the years,
twins of silent beauty, blessed
with Catalan crests upon their breasts.
Born from seed and fertile soil,
and christened with palatial style.

Deep in the valley, wild nature grows,
the river sparkles, ebbs and flows.
Its tranquil echoes of peaceful times,
protect these twins dead in their primes,
a graceful shield from world and war,
like blood of lamb upon their door.

In the shadows of a fearsome mount,
these twins are never called to count,
but guard discreetly upon their rolls
raw secrets of twelve thousand souls
who live and breathe betwixt their pines,
and thrive beneath their hallowed signs.

Though battle rages far away
in streets upon an ancient bay,
these twins stand firm in sombre quiet,
and take no part in needless riot,
but instead bring hope from past to present
that end is near for such torment.

Whilst many come here to adore,
one stands alone atop its tor,
a wounded soul with lonely heart,
draws breath and solemnly remarks:
“far from the tumult and storms above,
‘twas with these twins I fell in love.”

Photo: Xavigivax (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bon dia, Catalunya

Saturday, 8am, no more can I sleep,
on the balcony I sit, only half-awake, feeling weak.
I spark up a cigarette, sit back in wonder
at what I observe, rolling through the tundra.

Up here, it is peaceful, mostly nature out to play,
save a feint hum of vehicles, in the distance, far away.
The chirping of birds, the crowing of a cockerel,
the call of a wood pigeon, energetic and soulful.

I look out, and around, at the villages in the hills,
houses outnumbered by trees, all calm and still.
The morning sun bounces off everything in sight,
numerous shades of green glisten in the light

Times may be harder in this country paradise,
yet I can’t help but sense a more relaxed way of life.
Though my time here is short, I can’t help but smile and think:
“bon dia, Catalunya, t’estimo moltíssim”.

Yourmedway letter: Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Boris’ airport plan is simply ludicrous

“A brand new, state-of-the-art, three-runway airport would promote growth, attract investment and create employment”. I can already picture residents on the Hoo Peninsula queuing for miles to benefit from the ‘local’ jobs promised as they watch their idyllic surroundings ravaged by ruthless machinery.

The problem is that Boris’ plans to pave over the beautiful north Kent countryside – a prominent habitat for migrating birds, which sees ornithologists flocking to catch a glimpse of a rare species – do not merely involve the terminal and runways.

Associated infrastructure will kill any remaining natural beauty – a promise to connect via the high-speed rail network and vastly increased traffic to accommodate tourists, business travellers and thousands of airport staff on existing roads (not to mention the miles of extra roadways that would be necessary) would ensure that any remaining green spaces were dutifully paved over and any wildlife (not to mention us human beings) remaining were sent running for fear of their lives.

Now, I am a massive fan of Mayor BoJo. His brilliant intelligence allowed him to create his persona of a clumsy baboon. His faux pas, though offending huge populations at a time, were largely innocent and harmless. Not so since his deluded visions for ‘Boris Island’ – and now, we learn, for a resurrection of plans fought fiercely and successfully against, emanating from his political foes.

Another issue being overlooked by some campaigners is that the plan is to create an international hub on a scale seen by few nations, and a replacement for London Heathrow as the country’s primary airport. Naturally, this aim is best served by siting such a crucial terminal at almost the most southeastern most tip of our islands.

Alan W Collins
By email

Medway Messenger letter: Friday, 5 November 2010

Airport threat to the countryside

WE ARE told “a brand new, state-of-the-art, three-runway airport would promote growth, attract investment and create employment”.

I can already picture residents on the Hoo Peninsula queueing for miles to benefit from the “local” jobs promised as they watch their idyllic surroundings ravaged.

The problem is that Boris’ plans to pave over the beautiful north Kent countryside – a prominent habitat for migrating birds, which sees ornithologists flocking to catch a glimpse of a rare species – do not merely involve the terminal and runways.

Associated infrastructure will kill any remaining natural beauty – a promise to connect via the high-speed rail network and vastly increased traffic to accommodate tourists, business travellers and thousands of airport staff on existing roads (not to mention the miles of extra roadways that would be necessary) would ensure that any remaining green spaces were dutifully paved over and any wildlife (not to mention us human beings) remaining would be sent running for fear of their lives. I am a massive fan of Mayor BoJo. His brilliant intelligence allowed him to create his persona of a clumsy baboon. His faux pas, though offending huge populations at a time, were largely innocent and harmless. Not so since his deluded visions for Boris Island – and now, we learn, for a resurrection of plans fought fiercely and successfully against, emanating from his political foes.

Alan W Collins, by email