It is a grotesque representation of power.
The shouting of it from castellated rooftops, the feel of it on the backs of slaves and the ultimate poverty of its exercise by the cruel and graceless opportunists who inhabited its now ghost-infested walls.
Fancying themselves, maybe, in the image of of Edward I, all turrets and dominance, subjugation, turned from political necessity into an artform, to be admired and remarked upon by their curious guests.
Then… and now.
Every castle is built by slaves.
Sugar and slate and all things hate.
We have so much in common – the poor.
For generations we have been set against each other for one rich man’s excuse or another.
The colour of our skin, the shallow depth of our pockets, the simplicity of our dreams – all these things have been used against us.
Then we, the truth revealed in our older years, weakened by the struggle, ignored as we shuffle by, die, knowing what is needed but helpless to act. Powerless.
Every generation of oppressors needs its symbols, messages of control and monuments to self-regard, as though somehow, great houses or landscaped gardens could pass through the needle’s eye by way of atonement or justification.
Even when the sun shines, they are dark.
It had no heyday, Penrhyn Castle.
There is no nostalgia, nothing to celebrate.
There is a grand gate and a thick wall, topped, to add insult, by slates.
There is no sugar-coating at all.
If Penrhyn Castle existed beyond the backwaters of Gwynedd, visitors might mark their visit in quiet reflection and bow their heads at its cost to life, limb and dignity.
There has never been freedom in the work of slaves.