Damp walls, flaked paint – just goes to prove
That sadly, yes – it’s time to move;
A big decision, yes - that’s true,
But where to? Farnham? Fleet? The Forest (New)?
No! When nearly all our peers
Stay here, or hereabouts, for years,
We should consider –
What’s the draw,
Or natural law,
That gives this town its “staying power?”
We know of course the ‘norm’ is that
On every street there’s time to chat;
Not just on market day (a joy!),
Time for each other – that’s the ploy!
No large scale outlet domination,
No high street mall abomination;
Choice and diversity prevail,
With shopping on a human scale.
We must accept, as well as this,
That Alton’s vivid history is
What gives the town its soul and heart -
So many players have played their part!
The roll-call really is uncanny -
One thinks, alas, of poor sweet Fanny,
Of Curtis, Allen, Civil War,
The bullet holes in Lawrence’s door....
Too big a legacy to outline here,
Though culture’s at its heart, its clear;
And Austen’s impact? - You cannot hide
A little prejudice, but lots of pride!
So though you sometimes can’t define
The secret of this town of mine,
It’s trite, but true, to say out loud:
“Its people are what makes it proud!”
So in conclusion, let me say
That in the end, decision day
Was no great hardship – and that was due
To many facets: a town that’s true
To values dear, a quest for unity,
But above all else, a strong community;
Museums, parks and playing field –
Defended like a human shield,
You can always bet
(When under threat)
On a spirit to fight
For what is right.
A confident future lies ahead,
So this is where we’ll rest our head;
In Alton, with its ‘staying power’.
Rod Eckles - Oct 2010