Friday, 19 January 2018

This Cotton-Built Town

Poem sent to Northern Voices by the Rochdalianm, Trevor Hoyle.

[after Betjeman.  A long way after]

It once were great, this cotton-built town
A grand night out for half-a-crown,
Go out now you get knocked down
Or summat worse.

We had cobbles and ginnels and gaslit streets,
A clip round th’ear from bobbies on beats.
No muggers or druggies, no benefits cheats,
Our nation’s curse.

Gradely folk they were back then
Slogged all week at mill for six-pound-ten:
Lancashire’s best – la crème de la crème,
Gone and forgot.

Walk down Drake Street now and weep
For Ivesons, Fashion Corner, the Carlton creep,
The legacy of civic pride sold cheap.
Who gives a jot?

It’s council top brass in the main
Who’ve least to lose and most to gain.
(1st class seats on the gravy train!)
Just hear their cries:

Sack the workers but keep the bosses!
That’s the way to cut the losses!
And round our necks like albatrosses
Hang the PFIs.

And where do all our taxes go?
You must be joking – don’t you know?
On bods with clipboards on go slow,
On Manchester Road –

Where roundabouts once did the job
The planners have incensed the mob,
Who write in fury to the Ob:
“Stop this load

Of nonsense, quick, it’s puerile,
Are they trying to compete in style
With illuminations on’t Golden Mile
And make things worse?”

Come, gentle Kong, and dump on Dale
Bury it deep so it can’t inhale.
Beyond a joke, beyond the pale,
Armpit of the universe.


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