Since the tragic events that transpired in Charlottesville, South Carolina, last August, a fierce debate about what should be done with problematic monuments has been raging—and not just in the United States. In Europe, colonial-era monuments pose a particular problem. Like monuments to the confederacy in the US, sculptures memorializing European colonizers are rarely combined…
Picture from January 2015
Make way: make way
The developers say
As their wrecking balls
Crash down the walls.
Condemned as unfit
The buildings are split
Ridding them of trouble
Turning all to rubble
For once it’s all razed
There’s money to be made
Erecting posh offices
Or executive pads.
Never mind how we feel
The development’s a steal
For those with power
Over the poor.
And I ask
“Have you an inkling
Of the grief we are thinking
When you split our community apart?”
In the East End of London, Spitalfields, many homes and buildings have been demolished and replaced with high cost housing or expensive office blocks. This has tended to price the local people out of the area, break up communities and bring in new residents who have no close ties to the community. Often buildings could have been improved but there is more money in doing them up for a different market or other things. On the positive side, the Street Artists have moved in and taken advantage of bare walls and fencing to display their work. One of my favourites was the madonna-like figure on the end wall behind the hoarding in my photograph above. The area around Brick Lane is a mecca for restaurants and tourists. But for local people who want to stay, it is impossible – it can be over a million pounds for a 2 bedroom apartment! There have been protests against the ‘gentrification’ of the area but money always wins.
Screenshot from Google Maps, shows a demolition site in the heart of Spitalfields.
Photos and words copyright Englepip©
Captured on a wall.
Shadows from a winter sun
‘Let me out!’ or, ‘Let me in!’
‘Can I escape?’ or, ‘Can you?’
Humour or drama in silhouette?
Capture of light and darkness
Static instant caught.
Photo and words copyright Englepip ©
I scan the horizon and wonder
Which building will today
Dominate the skyline.
Vying for height, shape and spectacle
They rise, in London, to the sky:
Above the smog.
2003, The Gherkin: rocket or vegetable?
Love it or hate it: amusing cuteness.
2014, Walkie Talkie leaning tower,
Sky garden overhang
TV screening a view of the rest.
But 2012 was The Shard.
Aloof, a proud spike: icicle upended.
Taller than the rest.
Should we revere these pinnacles of modernity?
In a world moving onwards and definitely upwards.
Or look back to Wren, St Paul’s sublime dome
From the east obliterated now by steel and glass.
Should we recreate the romance of the past
Shakespeare’s and Wanamaker’s Globe
Reliving nightly the fifteenth century
In the twenty first?
Defend, promote, revive,
Preserve, destroy, reuse?
Infil, demolish, redesign.
A spirit of each age.
What will it bring tomorrow?
Photos and wording copyright Englepip©
Your eye catches mine
And in an instant I am drawn
To your unblinking stare
Which digs deep into
That eye drills
Into my very being
And holds me
Who could surmise
That such innocence
Was so omniscient.
I was travelling by bus when this child – no more than 18 months and sitting on its mother’s knee in front me, captured my attention, staring unblinking into my own eye. Seemingly the toddler could see my very thoughts. It was an eerie experience which I have remembered for years. I had to look away to break the spell. The title in the daily prompts brought it all back to me, now.
Photo and poem copyright Englepip ©
The squawking chick will grow
To be a carbon copy of its mother
Speckled hen crossing the dry grass.
One day its feathers will be more
Beautiful and consistent with
What a hen is supposed to be,
And it will grow a red comb or wattle
On its head, and its beady eye
Will know what to look for to eat.
But for now it will stick
Close to its mother for comfort
And protection and to learn
How to behave
When it is grown.