Mill Town Lament

mill.jpg

Tin knockers,
millwrights, motor inspectors:
thirty dollars an hour
thirteen weeks vacation,

Pay your tithe to the union
you will work forever,
Bring a book, you can read
until we need you,

The gravy train is rolling,
Buy a boat, a summer home,
a pickup truck
with a chainsaw in the back,

In the rotting fullness
of a carcass overfed,
we lost our souls to overtime,
our hope to sleep,

The silence of shift whistles
hangs like a shroud
over the valley,
The train has derailed,

Ghosts of dead moths
gather in the cracked globes
of incandescent streetlamps,
The race to the flame is done.

12 comments

  1. Hi, Sarah. A powerful and haunting poem. I can’t recall a poem that captures the devastation of the loss of union jobs and the plight of the “rust belt.” And the sad undercurrent of the poem: we had it coming.

    Great poem, and again very powerful.

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the details, the material things
    that temporarily satisfied.
    and then it is all gone…poof.

    Love the line re losing the hope to sleep.

    Take care,
    Kerri

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kerri,

    I’m so glad to ‘hear’ your voice. Ok, I want to know about your avatar!
    I love that you are here and I’m so very appreciative of your comment.
    Now you know I’m going to say it….I can’t wait to see dozens of Kerri
    poems on these pages.

    Sarah

    Like

    • It’s the same the world over and it’s no more than an inevitable consequence of the inexorable march of technology.

      Perhaps we should not lament, but instead celebrate the possibility of a new dawn, where drudgery is consigned to history. Nowadays, even in the infancy of this new age, machines already do the work of untold thousands of folk; and much more efficiently and accurately.

      All mankind has to do is to work out how to share the benefits properly. It’s going to HAVE to happen sooner or later, as when the robots finally take over, we’ll all just be hanging around contemplating the wonders of the universe.

      Mass unemployment, or a society of leisure? Take your pick. Personally, I’m plumping for a society of leisure where the benefits are shared as equally as possible, because it will be a matter of pure pragmatism on the part of the the great, the good and the greedy. After all, without customers with cash in their pockets their ain’t no profits and that would never do.

      Then again I am an optimist. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Then again I am an optimist” Thank goodness. : )

        Douglas,

        That was quite a commentary! I love it. Not only is it food for thought, with just a hint of sci fi that always precurses the fact of the future, but it also serves as a reminder of your talent with prose. The Prose forum is still up at The Peaceful Pub (and reopened so you can save whatever you want from there) I’m hopin gyour prose pieces will soon be a part of this blog.

        As for that society of leisure, you know what they say about idle hands.

        Sarah

        Like

    • Sarah,
      Pete is still in the hospital
      and I was going through old pictures of he and I
      and saw this one.
      It warmed my heart, seeing an old pic of us new and in love.
      I decided to use it. :0)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kerri,

    It is beautiful. I am so sorry to hear that Pete is still in the hospital.
    Sending prayers and good wishes for him and for you. You are
    amazing.

    I will start a candle thread, and make Pete’s candle the first one in it.
    Thank you for all that you do for everyone. It makes the world a better
    place.

    Sarah

    Like

  5. Hi Sarah

    Perfect title followed by a stunningly powerful poem and one that really captures the ruin and changing attitudes that has come with time and the devastation of the work force, not to mention the worker’s human soul. The detail in this one engaged the reader from start to finish. This is such a fine and timely poem. I can vividly picture and feel this inevitable but tragic occurrence. It’s part of modernization and the decline of our mortal nature.

    In the rotting fullness
    of a carcass overfed,
    we lost our souls to overtime,
    our hope to sleep,

    The silence of shift whistles
    hangs like a shroud
    over the valley,
    The train has derailed,

    Ghosts of dead moths
    gather in the cracked globes

    ;Love this!
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wendy,

    So very glad for your insight and appreciation of this one.
    It is sad to see, and it amazes me that one area (this region
    where I live) can be duped so many times. First it was the
    mines, then the mills, and now its the mini-casinos on every
    block. Somehow it seems the greatest proclivity is for hitching
    the wagons to the wrong star.

    On another note, I was absolutely blown away by your poem,
    “What the desert brings”. You always give us top shelf but that
    one is excellence personified.

    Sarah

    Like

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