Mills

Spun cotton casts a web upon the town.
Dust arising from the yelling looms
infiltrates the workers' living rooms,
the soot filled smoke slowly settling down.

Across the terraced houses, ranged in lines
on cobbled streets, they hear the hooters blare
signalling a change of shift, the hardware
of machines are worshipped in their shrines.

The mills are like cathedrals of the cursed
louring over Rochdale in the rain.
They hear the manufacturers refrain,
"From labour, we get profit reimbursed".

But during the American Civil War
they refused to work with cotton picked by slaves
and wished plantation owners in their graves,
though they were hungry, out of work and poor.

The towns of Lancashire were built by mills,
the labour of the spinners toiling there.
I hear their voices spinning through the air
up from the plains into the Pennine hills.