Mill memories set in verse

First published in Poems

Good-bye you once proud home of cotton,
A roofless shell with timbers rotten.
Built when Victoria held the throne,
Now derelict... you are all alone.
You, and your siblings once were legion,
The fount of wealth for all the region.
Your chimneys vied to touch the clouds,
And wrapped the town in smoky shrouds.
Each working day your sirens’ calls
Filled the streets with clogs and shawls.
Ten thousand looms stacked floor on floor
Deafened ears with their ceaseless roar.
The weavers, clad in homespun ‘brats’, would not forgo their social chats;
But as no words could pierce the noise-soaked air,
Their lips just moved, like nuns at prayer.
With tireless fingers skilled and deft,
They knotted warps and coaxed out weft
The cloth they wove clad half the globe,
From peasants’ shirt to royal robe.
But Parliament brought in new laws,
And let cheap imports flood our shores,
And with this cloth from Eastern climes
Soon came the very worst of times
And through the rooms where shuttles flew,
The cold wind of recession blew.
Daily, tremors rent the town,
As yet another mill closed down!
Your chimney fell some weeks ago,
Now your walls succumb to the hammer’s blow.
Though your glory days have long since gone,
The memory of those times lives on.
David Walker, Ashfield Close, Barrowford

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