These red bricks, these tall chimneys,
Coloured by their blood, shaped by the hands of their children
Carried on their rugged shoulders and working class calves.
We don’t look up enough, we don’t marvel at what they gave us.
These edifices echo with their pain and suffering
Voices of our forefathers, sinewed souls of our ancestors
They built their empires in cotton and coal so that we could enjoy
The fruits of their labours and be forever known as the workshop of the world.
Salford, Stalybridge, Manchester, Blackburn, Wigan-working that weft
Darwen, Accrington, Chorley, Preston, winding that bobbin up.
And the roll call falters, unemployment, hunger, desperation, and impoverishment
They stood together arm in arm, hand in hand, through protest and starvation,
To demonstrate their love and pride for another brother in another place.
We should stand tall for we stand on the shoulders of giants
They gave us humility, compassion, work ethic and pride.
True northern spirit and true northern soul.
©Alison Jean Hankinson
Featured image from the public domain labelled for reuse. Horrockses Cotton Mill Preston.
Other images are my own.
This journey into the cotton famine was a soulful journey and I am very proud of the stance taken by the Lancashire millworkers and the sacrifices they made. We were encouraged to look at soul for poetics at d’Verse.
I have edited this and made some changes.