Mantz Yorke



As proud as a tombstone, the east window
slants the sun on to rubble,
its stained glass fragmenting
a wintery light.

Here choirs would harmonise their mill-work with hymns
bellowed silently,
transcending the deafening
cacophony of looms.

No more. Their powerhouse is a tumble of bricks
open to the sky, a scree
dammed to metastability
by saplings of pipe:

its dark octagonal stack, one axle of a revolution,
is cracked and iron-strapped,
a gnomon idly marking time
over converted offices,

too tall to fell. So a scaffold is creeping upward,
a metallic saprophyte
drawing strength from mortar
rain has decomposed to sand.

How many constructions, physical and metaphysical,
will be demolished
when the old is broken open
by the egg-tooth of the new?


Before the first world war, mills in England were so noisy that, in some, workers collectively mimed hymns as they wove cloth on the looms.


Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England.  He is a prize-winning poet whose poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US and Hong Kong.

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