Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Monday, 19 October 2015


The recent news that the dramatic shrinkage of water levels at a reservoir in Southern Mexico have uncovered a 400-year old church built by Spanish colonisers prompted me to dig out this old poem featuring a submerged village.  
In Britain there are a number of valleys that have been commandeered to facilitate the creation of reservoirs and the abandoned habitations beneath their still waters intrigue me, as does the surreal image below.  


Beneath unclouded summer skies
a narrow, flooded valley lies.
Beneath the water surface, still,
deep, deep in silent, icy chill,
streets and houses stand arranged,
submerged but otherwise unchanged
since every house was occupied,
before the living village died.

Now doors stand open, currents creep
through gaping windows, fathoms deep;
like pennants waving, currents thread
through silent houses of the dead;
now empty rooms wait as they must,
where fishes move in shoals, like dust,
past walls and gables, mountain sheer,
and all is silent, silent here.

The light is most peculiar where
it fills this place, devoid of air.
Along one subterranean street,
where water-weed and granite meet,
a great fish moves, majestic, slow,
dispersing smaller fry below:
with silver fin, unloving eye
and scales like armour, passing by.

Its stately movement, in the deep,
recalls a human mind asleep:
a dreamer in that precious land
we love, but do not understand.

Click here for media report and images of the drowned church at Nezahualoyotl, Mexico.

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