(Sooner or Later)
Staring down Cottonopolis Road I still see
Mill chimneys, sticking up as defiant digits
To this digital world. There’s a mischievous tree
Sprouting from one as if, despite its height, it fits.
This then is the realm of King Coal and Queen Cotton
These days. Sooner or later they’ll be forgotten.
Edwardian villas, grand once but shabby now,
Are reminders rendered in red brick of great wealth
Spun from mills, woven in sheds, that slipped by somehow
Spinners and weavers donkey stoning off the filth
Belched smoke soot-smutted along millstone terraces,
Becoming, sooner or later, heritage places.
In one villa, being minded by milling carers,
Laid out on cotton sheets in a drawn-curtain room,
And almost, almost prepared for the pall bearers,
The fent of a woman frays. So I must assume
My position as her son for days, weeks perhaps,
Until, sooner or later, the yarn of her life snaps.