The Cooling Towers at Didcot

(For Diana)


‘The bride and bridesmaids – look!’ A child
is pointing from the swerving train.
A memory I must have filed
and labelled read again, again,


so long ago. Today, once more,
my train passes those plain squat towers:
I watch three women near the door
of a square church – they bear no flowers,


though veiled in white, stout matrons still
and faded like a photograph
of an old wedding-day – until
they disappear.  Technology’s half-


life seems so short.  The towers must go,
they say.  Railways will follow too.
Our great-grand-children will not know
the secret Didcot sight we knew


and loved: a stately wedding march
which none but children recognise,
frozen in time, beneath the arch
of spacious, grey, indifferent skies.