New Mills, Derbyshire
Architecture of purpose and industry;
I like canals between buildings:
brick against water, shaping nature,
lapping gently – peaceful now.
Two ducks and a plastic bag, floating.
Buildings that tell of many hands:
silly sheds at impossible angles;
added for Harold, who counted the coals.
Ladders for lads, and storage for boats.
Moss growing between the slabs, waiting.
Chimneys without hearts, lonely,
and so many windows, empty:
again and again – admitting light
still, to silent mill floors.
Rental and for sale signs, fading.
The people came, and remain.
Stoic houses worship forsaken mills
reflected in the quiet waters
of yesterday’s canals.
Who am I to say it will never come?
© Matthew Rhodes 2011
I visited New Mills today (a town in the North Midlands of England) to give a talk to a community-owned energy company. There is great hope and ambition and potential in the town, but I couldn’t help responding to the (wonderfully energetic and complex, yet utterly silent) industrial architecture in a sad, romantic way which I have tried to express in this poem.