Architects’ Triptych

Dad is silent on the sofa, nose in Reader’s Digest;

Granddad silent even more so, rattling through Sudoku.

My mouth isn’t moving – so I’m silent,

But that’s all there is to it.



Tramp across the heathland feel the wind between your shins

– Breathe it in.

‘Gainst your forehead ‘gainst your chest feel the walls of what’s before you:

Man-made tor, disused monastery.


Reformation rumbles through the centuries to this moment:

Ritual and sacrament;

Torment now repentant:

Stone buttresses still stretch and speak in stretching;

Stone walls still span and speak in spanning;

Stone columns still stand and speak in standing;

Quiet majesty in local stone.



Built: 1847

Ex-parish church

No special features

Awaiting listed building status

In need of restoration

Missing slate from roof,

Missing glass from windows,

Missing hinges,

Missing opportunities hushed before fruition.


Gentle spirits in every room; a simple ease and softly stated humour

In the pots and pans abandoned,

The dangling cables that spark on occasion:

A self-contented mess in need of loving care and inclined ear to hear the stress of two hundred years.



What am I?

What am I?


I am something to say!

I am the latest example of post-modern architecture!

I have a roof in the shape of a Chippendale!

I rise from this tiresome urban uncut lawn





Talk to me!

My pants are full of money!

Wads in my waistline that make me a mushroom –

– That’s it!

I am a building in the shape of a mushroom

And they shall call me… The PORTOBELLO.

My pants are full of money! And so is everyone else’s!

The builders?

Pants are full of money!

The foremen?

Pants are full of money!

The architect?

Pants are full of money!

The developers?

Pants are full of money!

The managers?

Pants are full of money!

The city council?

Pants are full of money!

Prince Charles?

Pants are full of money!

The Qatari Royal Family?

Pants are full of money!


Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Lend me your pants, and we’ll stuff ’em!


From my heady heights,

I see the old parish church fighting for funding from English Heritage

But no one’s listening.

I see the rural ruins in the distance that swell and say nothing.


The business day ends.

Computers on standby.

The developers move into a disused car park next door.

Pegs of cranes and scaffolding snag at my ankles.

With every mark of dirt and dust I shorten my sentences

Filter my phrasing.

Every year I have less to say and more to stow away under my tongue

Until one day –

Paint peeling on the ceiling,

I tell my story in




[For a while this has had the title Son of an Architect’s Architect Son, but I always felt that had a toxic adolescent mix of both blatancy and evasiveness. I was sorely tempted to retitle it as Patriarchitecture, but that just sounds like an awful album title.]


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