One of the very first poems I had published basck in nineteen yibblty-yibble (and I'm still only 39 OK!) It won a prestigious award in 1971 for poems depicting industrial life. The poem is about the decline of the once mighty Lancashire Cotton Industry. The very pedestrian rhythm was used not only to enhance the atmosphere of deline and decay but to echo the beat of the weaving looms as they monotonously tapped away the seconds of the workers lives.
I brought it here now because I see all the same mistakes being made in other industries.
one cared and no — one tried
Obsolete the mill now stands,
Its windows smashed by vandals hands.
Part of an age that came and went
and left it as a monument.
Where once the doors hung tall and wide
a gaping hole now leads inside
to where each empty, cavernuous floor
remembers when, in years before
hundreds came to work each day,
hob - nails ringing through the gate
mingling with the din of looms
that echoes still in silent rooms
where many weavers work worn hands
worked the cloth that clothed the land.
Just simple workmen they, and yet
an empire was built on their sweat.
They trusted when employers promised
a means to live ‘til living passed,
but the cotton trade outlived its day,
the mill was closed, it did not pay.
the looms were smashed and sold for scrap,
the rest was auctioned lot by lot,
but human surplus can't be sold.
The workers were just told to go.
Dismissed without a word of thanks
and equipped to work at little else.
A place once full of life had died
and no —
to put the mill to any use
it stood and suffered time’s abuse
became a scar upon the changing face
of the town that is its resting place.
And now to walk among the ghosts
and touch the shadows of the past
is to walk within a history book,
each page a man’s lifetime of work.
The stories of ten thousand lives
are stored within this vast archive
where dust has settled, rot set in
and spiders weave instead of men.
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|Reviewed by K. Mulroney
|what a GREAT write!!! i lved the size change in the working words. I was laid off three weeks ago after 17 yrs. with this company I certainly felt this to the bone, you are very talented my friend!|
|Reviewed by Kate Burnside
|... Too right... Dylan said that "The times they are a-changing", but although people might metamorphose and transcend their immediate environments, others simply come to fill their shoes - such is the remorselessness of steel versus flesh... or rather, economy and expediency versus flesh. Reminds me of William Blake... "And did those feet..." Life is peppered with irony and it is often the sad and piquant memorials in life that endure or win accolades. Good work, Ian... very classic, therefore!! :)) Kate xx|
|Reviewed by Cynth'ya email@example.com
|Glad you brought this back from nineteen yibblty-yibbee. Appreciate the heart-tugging words Bro. Ian. . .
cynth'ya lewis reed
|Reviewed by Kate Clifford
|A truth that is very sad and happening all the time. Employers need to be made accountable to their word.|
|Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson
|Splendid, Ian! Your talent is awesome! A standing ovation to you, Sir!|
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader)
|The same is going on in this country. Pensions are being scrapped and what isn't scrapped is being robbed or mismanaged or embezzeled.
An excellent work...I could hear the looms.
|Reviewed by Katy Walsvik
I began to shiver after the first verse, was shaking and shaken when finished reading.
You can't know this, but I paused and just sat for a full 10 min. after reading, before writing this. I'm not sure I've ever been affected like this by a poem... not for a very long time, anyway.
The use of your "pedestrian" rhythm as well as the mesmerizing rhyming, each line ending quickly, yet building the intense mind pictures is nothing short of perfect. This is a poem that fills the head, entirely. Emotions rule. First utter pain, for the humanity of it... then the un-subtle fury for the disposal of that humanity.
I could go on forever. I won't. BUT... I will save this for myself and to share with others. I'm truly moved, Ian. katy xox
|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
|Great imagery...but those cob weaving thought gives me the creeps...grrrrrrr.....but great offering Ian!!
A hauting though silent picture you painted at the en.
Good actually see those bloody spiders!
|Reviewed by ~ Chanti
|I can see why this poem was so highly aclaimed. I did not find the rhythm pedestrian at all. The rhythm allowed me to focus on the message which was driven across so effectively. It flowed beautifully. The message is one that will linger. A great work!