.

They lie in serried ranks above the strand.
These mighty, whirling monsters made of steel.
Where once, a couple wandered, hand in hand,
Not knowing what the future might reveal.
The murky sea rolls in from dawn ‘till late,
You rarely hear the screeching seabird sound,
With drizzle tumbling from a sky of slate,
Upon the turbines spinning round and round.

These lovers came this way in sixty-three,
Without the wherewithal to own a car.
Before the Beatles very first L.P.
When no-one ever travelled very far.
They gazed upon a hint of Paradise,
A cabin by the lonely sea they found.
But future Summers wouldn’t be so nice,
When turbines would be spinning round and round.

Those sunny days, they came and went so fast,
Their footprints etched upon the drifting sand.
This couple weren’t to know it wouldn’t last,
Events would not unfold the way they’d planned.
For engineering work was taking place,
As night and day, the hammer drills would pound.
It didn’t take them long, but now they faced,
Those mighty turbines spinning round and round.

She cried, “I have to leave, I cannot stay,
No longer will I find my pleasure here.”
He gazed at her, then quickly turned away,
And poured himself another glass of beer.
With “Ruby” playing on the radio,
The morning that she took her love to town,
Her taxi-cab was waiting far below,
Beneath the turbines spinning round and round.

So now he spends his days in quiet repose.
The lighthouse throws its beam across the bay.
He thinks about the other life she chose.
She broke his heart the day she went astray.
He knows he must remain until the end,
When, come the day, they plant him in the ground.
He lights a cigarette and sheds a tear,
And gazes at the turbines spinning round.

.

.

Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams.


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28 Responses

  1. lionel willis

    Jeff, you have given us a moving, carefully crafted, thoughtful poem. A lyric really, perhaps a ballad? It has a timeless quality of disciplined language I deeply appreciate, though it has a very timely subject. The world fills with dislocated people like this couple. I will treasure this poem. I can almost hear the lilt of the refrain as it comes “round”. Nice work!

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Lionel, thank you for your most generous comments which are much appreciated.

      Reply
  2. Paul Freeman

    What could easily have become a ‘not in my back yard’ piece, puts people at the heart of the environmental question.

    Thanks for the read, Lionel.

    Reply
    • Julian D. Woodruff

      But Paul,
      People ARE at the heart of not-in-my-backyard stories.

      Reply
      • Paul Freeman

        What I meant was by personalising the story so it focuses on how a couple are affected.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thanks Paul, I certainly wouldn’t like one in the backyard, it would definitely terrify the pigeons.

      Reply
  3. Sally Cook

    Jeff – I admire fhe way you have created a contrast between two opposing ways of life; interjecting a disdain for the
    artificiality of the so-called politically correct.
    I would make Just one small suggestion — by removing some of your articles and conjunctions.you might give your meter a better flow. Otherwise, a poem full of resonance and experience. Very nice !

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Sally, a heartwarming comment from a poet that I have come to have a huge respect for.
      I take your suggestion with thanks and look forward to your future submissions ( I hope that sounds right!)

      Reply
  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    Jeff,
    A nice statement on the visual, aesthetic wreckage these things cause. (The forest of them that can be seen on California’s Altamont Pass, no visual jewel to start with, is a fine manifestation of their hideousness.) How they wrecked the relationship in your poem is less clear: what compelled the guy to stay, anyway?
    I don’t understand Ms Cook’s complaint about your rhythm, except possibly for “… his days in quiet repose,” where you properly intend a virtual ellision. Maybe “… own a car” and the next line should end in commas rather than periods; “… but now they faced / Those mighty …” is better without the comma.
    Please write about these monstrosities whenever the mood strikes you. We see them here, we see them there–Those bloody turbines everywhere …

    Reply
  5. Jeff Eardley

    Julian, thank you so much for your comments. The coast of North Wales is blighted by thousands of these things located off shore in full view of many holiday chalets, purchased by working folk as weekend retreats. I don’t suppose they had any say in the planning process that renders this special place of my childhood a no-go zone.

    Reply
    • Joe Tessitore

      There were plans, way back when, to put them in the Atlantic Ocean just off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
      Senator Ted Kennedy did have a say, and the proposed wind farm never happened.

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        Thanks Joe. It’s unfortunate that Ted is often remembered for the incident that blighted his bid for president. The Kennedy clan had their share of bad luck. We live near to the grave of sister of JFK, Kathleen, who got involved with the English aristocracy, only to perish in a plane crash aged 28.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I love your poem. It sings to me. I can hear the music of the verses and the grating chorus of those terrible turbines at the end of every gripping stanza. And what a story you tell… one that leaves this reader frustrated – love sliced by the blades of those bird-murdering atrocities. Well, I suppose the protagonist can live with a clear conscience when “he gazes at the turbines spinning round”. He may have lost the love of his life, but at least the planet has been saved. I look forward to Turbines II . Great stuff!

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Susan, thank you for your kind words. Once again, your reply is a masterpiece in itself and will spur me on to a sequel, with a possible blood-soaked conclusion as the man seeks revenge on the poor chap with a bucket and sponge who is sent to clean the block of flock choppers. Thanks again to you and Mike for the laughs today.

      Reply
  7. Margaret Coats

    Jeff, do you know of, or can you think of, an appropriate collective name for groups of turbines? “Farm” doesn’t seem right. When we think of a single old-fashioned windmill, it’s usually as a picturesque focal point in a landscape. But as much as I’ve tried to appreciate the sleek, efficient form of these monsters, I have to say that just one out-of-human-scale example is ugly, and the ugliness of a group seems to increase exponentially. Good idea to make them a cause of hopeless human discontent. You arrange the story well.

    The form comes close to my favorite chant royal. I thought of it immediately when Lionel Willis suggested ballad. This is not ballad stanza, but ballade stanza. The most common form of ballade is three stanzas of eight lines each rhymed ababbcbC, where the capital letter indicates a refrain. Your rhyme scheme is ababcdcD, and there are five stanzas, which turns a ballade into a chant royal. Now theoretically the rhyme sounds should be the same in all stanzas, which is why there aren’t many chants royal in English. But I recently counted “The Praise of Age” by Walter Kennedy as a chant royal in Scots, and he took the same liberties as you in allowing himself new rhyme sounds in each stanza. If you’re interested in a poem of similar form, look for it using our search bar. Excellent use of a refrain here on your part.

    Reply
    • Susan & Mike Bryant

      Margaret, we simply couldn’t resist your suggestion for an alternative name for wind farms:
      a tilt of turbines
      a grotesque of goose grinders
      a shade of blades
      a smack of bat-whackers
      a whine of turbines
      a block of flock choppers
      a lethargy of energies
      a breeze of eco-pleasers
      a murder of money mills

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        A string of swan slashers
        A pile of pigeon de-populators
        Oh dear, we are back in road gritting territory

      • Mike & Susan Bryant

        Jeff, we didn’t want to go here… who are we kidding? Of course we did.
        A plow of snowy owl foulers
        A slice of life deniers
        A grit of bittern hitters
        A throb of Robin robbers
        A grit of bluetit biters
        A drift of swift snuffers
        A dusting of bustard busters
        A blizzard of buzzard buggerers

      • Margaret Coats

        What talented wordsmithers! I can only add, for the enormous collectives located in my state,
        a carnage of California condor cripplers.

        We have hundreds of these things, planted at all angles to make sure power is always generated, no matter which way the wind blows. Very hazardous to our extremely endangered birds.

      • Mike Bryant

        Margaret, carnage is brilliant. Susan says it knocks the spots off of our concoction of politically incorrect collective nouns.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thank you Margaret for taking the time to comment. Your knowledge of poetic format is quite staggering and is much appreciated. As a musician, I tend to write music to attach to the words, influenced by a lifetime love of the American narrative country song. Best wishes.

      Reply
  8. Mike Bryant

    Jeff this poem is something really special. I have a feeling you already have the music to go along with the words.

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Working on it Mike. Could be a country ballad which as you know must feature the key ingredients of, Ma, Pa, Farm, Drunkenness, Prison, Pick-up Truck and Train. I started with….
      Ever since they dragged Ma off to prison,
      Nothing on the farm is quite the same.
      Pa got drunk then climbed aboard the pick-up
      And drove the goddamned truck into a train.
      Eat your heart out Garth Brooks

      Reply
  9. Evan Mantyk

    Mr. Eardley, thank you for your brilliant piece. It just so happens that someone sent me a clip on the general topic of the environment that you and others may enjoy:

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Evan, I think it’s rather instructive to listen to those in the audience that were booing Carlin’s common sense. I wonder what the ratio is between the heckling do gooders and those applauding the bracing truth? I feel optimistic about Classical Poetry’s comeback.

      His message? Take care of yourself and someONE else. Can you imagine a world where people mind their own business? I can, it’s the world the busybodies are taking away from us.
      Carlin had these words placed on his tombstone. “He was here a minute ago.”

      Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Evan, thanks for sharing this clip of a brilliant, funny and very intelligent comedian, a master of anti-wokeness and a joy to listen to. Lots of food for thought here. He puts our so called “comedians” to shame.

      Reply
    • Paul Freeman

      It feels almost prophetic how he points towards viruses and variants of viruses being mankind’s greatest danger considering he passed in 2008.

      Thanks for sharing this Evan.

      Reply

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