Something’s stirring under Hampshire. Three kilometres below
Quiet streets and peaceful pastures, elemental forces grow.
There’s a shuffling in the strata; England’s bones are realigned
And citizens of Winchester are wonderstruck to find
Their cups and saucers rattling. Anxious now, they call the cops
As they feel their floorboards flexing, sense a shudder in the shops.
Has there been an act of terror? Has a gas main gone awry?
Or did someone just get careless at the army camp nearby?
In the cavernous Cathedral, which has stood a thousand years,
Clerics trade uncertain glances, try their best to hide their fears.
Those opposed to women bishops cry ‘We told you so!’ with glee:
What is this if not God’s judgement on His wayward C of E?
The BGS is sanguine, tells us everything is fine:
It was just a little earthquake; only measured two-point-nine.
But our ancient Saxon capital, where Alfred burned the cakes
May have to grow accustomed to such subterranean shakes
As men in suits and hard hats prime their fracking pumps and drills
And dream of fortunes waiting to be made beneath the hills.
We’ll all be undermined by these rapacious corporate powers
Without some sudden seismic shift across this land of ours.


There was a small earthquake in the ancient city of Winchester yesterday; in typical British fashion, the initial anxiety quickly turned to amusement and a shrugging acceptance. That it was divine retribution for the (long-overdue) appointment of England’s first female bishop is pure speculation…
Of more serious concern is a proposed change to the trespass laws, which would allow energy companies to drill under people’s homes in search of shale gas without permission. Hampshire is prime fracking country (as we are here in Sussex, too) and the Government seems determined to give the companies involved carte blanche, despite vociferous local opposition and the potential environmental risks – which apparently include minor earth tremors. Fun times ahead. N.