Sunday, 25 January 2015

Brutal, practical, inevitable

a triumvirate of new industrial installations: 
oil refinery, chemical plant and power station

in the changing light, this cluster of cryptic structures could be anything

tapering spires for a new place of worship 

circular tanks as giant igloos,
pale green with rusty streaks

silos like newly-landed space ships

tripod gantries ready to fire salvos of secret missiles

at dawn or dusk the hole place might be a martial Manhattan, replicating every day, sprouting out of the shore, an alternative new forest of steel

there's no human scale to this petropolis

stripped down, utilitarian, 
it makes no apologies to its surroundings
It has only one function: 
to make the fuel that confirms its existence

it is brutal, practical, inevitable

the stacks occasionally burst into life
like huge Bunsen burners, 
as though the whole thing was 
some gigantic experiment, 
or as a memorial 
to an unknown warrior

their function is to burn excess gases
but as their orange red tongues lick the sky, 
they could be drawing directly 
from the molten depths of the earth

words from Philip Hoare's The Sea Inisde, describing Fawley Oil refinery.

I would recommend you read any, indeed all, of Philip Hoare's books
Serious Pleasures, Noel Coward: A Biography, Wilde's Last Stand, Spike Island, England's Lost Eden, Leviathan, The Sea Inside.

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