The Titanic of the Avalon

Peter Jackson
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 With heartfelt apologies to E.J. Pratt

The mighty engines silent, turbines still

The thermal plant sits ’neath Holyrood Hill

A feat of human fortitude and power

It quietly awaits its glorious hour

When, switch pulled, it roars to life

To save sweet Avalon from cold and strife

And keep the cruel winds of North Atlantic

At bay, while lighting darkness ’cross the isthmus

As grateful livyers chant their solemn mantric

And celebrate a safe and happy Christmas


Two towering smokestacks, soon to number three

For each, a furnace burning Bunker C

And belching steam to keep the turbines reeling

At peak, 500 megawatts for wheeling

Six thousand barrels of oil each day it swallowed

To fill its steel lungs with searing vapours

But soon, with taxing use, its workings hollowed

While choking fumes enveloped angry neighbours


Until, in early days of twenty fourteen

An icy polar vortex came a-courting

The plant, no longer bathed in veneration

Was lacking vital parts for generation

As in the grid, electrons struggled bravely

To keep the hapless folks warmly abode

A winter’s storm did tip the scales gravely

And cause the fragile system to explode


Meanwhile, up north, through seething froth and foam

Emerges cold, grey edifice of stone

Erected on the bones of ancient tombs

To harvest nature’s power from rushing flumes

And when it’s done, its turbines set to tumble

The architects will all burst at the seams

Until the day its aging walls do crumble

And naught remains but ruins and broken dreams

Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s commentary editor. Email

Geographic location: North AtlanticAt bay

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