They said there was no such thing as society and made it come true. In the guise of 'progress' they came like thieves in the night. Shut down the mills and workshops, concretecapped the pitheads and grassed over the stacks. Cleaned off the grime and soot, ripped up the sidings, blew up the cooling towers.Turned farmhouses into weekend cottages, barns into commuter homes. A waymark on every stile and stoop, Range Rovers and waxies - southern strangers Thatcher-rich, hiking the price of housing. Closed the post office, the branch bank and the corner shop, purloined the paving, tarmacked the setts. Turned the 'Cosy' fleapit into a supermarket, the Ebenezer Baptists into a dole office for the natives. They have wrapped the ashes of our vigour to sell to tourists,  fossiled our heritage , Tradition in a can, witchpiss with a widget, half baked our passion in a Bronte Bun!

  But if you turn from the  hands on holographic museum case and peer through the window of recollection you will still sense blood and iron in the silence of a spring morning, when the reservoirs are glass and a faint breeze sighs through the scored rocks and knotty ling. There is a spirit in the silent delf and the dank, deserted level,  a spirit unexcorcised in the bare iron trees and the greasy boards of the deserted mill. The rain knows, the wind hears and the rocking stones remember. Blood and iron - unsilenced, peopling the past and haunting the present, a muse of mossy tombstones a shout of shattered stones and a babble of belonging - splashed on a canvas of Brigantian Whispers.



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Copyright Jim Jarratt 2001