Sandles, Thrupp Lane, Radley

Secondly, another poem about a house, …

Diggers tore at sand and gravel
creating a scar that filled with water –
birds paddling above, fish swimming below.

Sandles, a family home, was built near the shore.
Window blinds slid open to reveal a private lake:
with beach and jetty and James Bond speed boat.

After the family split, house and lake were sold
to RWE npower to be used as a dump
for fly ash – a by-product of burning coal.

Activists pulled off the anti-vandal sheets
to reveal a moldy kitchen. Their children’s laughter
and screaming made it sound like home again.

In a dark inner room, sleeping bags – piled during the day –
came alive at night with whispers,
‘the bailiffs are coming … the bailiffs are coming.’
The bailiffs came in the early hours, and the house became
‘Fort Sandles’.    With balaclava covered faces,
bailiffs patrolled the lake, talking into walkie talkies.

Trees were numbered and cut.
Local people walked in silent
protest. The silence spooked

the bailiffs and everyone was pleased
an agreement was signed. ‘RADLEY LAKE SAVED’

Windows and doors were filled with breeze blocks,
canvasses for graffiti artists;
but the wildlife centre never did appear.
Sandles was pulled down, derelict and dangerous:
a pile of red and grey masonry bulldozed up
to wear down again as sand and gravel.

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