Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Old Factories and Smelters


Dead down a cracked window's dusty cataract,
streaming cold a long wind cobweb shroud,
dry as the crusts that bite the stone blue floor
in mildew strewn of whence they are no more.

Men’s gnarled lives screaming from the days
long oiled by their touchstones of meaning,
flowing in the metal gleaming upon their grime,
their time gone sadly missing.

Dare to elect but just one thing,
to point and say "there see it",
would never be the “it” of it,
the it that stains these walls.

The machines, frozen in rust,
must, when you look away so chatter. 
Eh? Where? Stares blank - nowhere.
But those men did live, did matter.

It seems the machines have bound them,
even time, on parole, has yoked them.
To what?
Dust to dust answers the floor

as we shuffle through, and nudge
the bits and bobs, and strange
things incandescent, do you feel it?
Dead as dead dodos, 

or were, for inside each other, in times
and banter, of hard men shadow boxed
and chinned with left and right the
pain of be gone! 
Must carry on. We have to.

The brassed off tap in an ageless drip,
sobs for lives that were leached away.
For wife and child the poorest hay,
harvest of an even poorer day.

Then doors unhinged beckon 
into rooms that devour rooms
marbled by the labour pains 
of birth and death confined.

Furnaces cold, metal tapped no more,
and fire hearths in rest rooms eaten away
by time and again we see them chewing
on their bread and dripping lost in thoughts

so weary in one’s own world of thoughts
of naught, or of everything that tattooed
their minds and blue pumped their arms and
fire fisted eyes stinging in the dust. We must

turn away and spin around to scan the scene
of what had been the factory floor, or a works
spitting fire and brimstone (or so it looks to us),
and listen to them call, all souls darkly.

The derelictions of our recollections perforced
by bated breath in trespass alighting on
this sarcophagus made precious by
the death of men, who by other men 
were so enforced to dwell.

Never again?

It would be wise for you to reflect
in the cracked metal-case window panes,
on what you, outside of this dereliction, do
to earn your crust as you turn away and drop
another crust in another day of dust.

Must you?

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