White Peak Writers visit the Mill
January 6th 2016
White Peak Writers' Group visited the Mill before Christmas, taking inspiration from its history and atmosphere. We will be sharing some of their tales on the North Mill Notes blog, available on our facebook page and here through a link on this website.
Here's a fantastic poem by Pam Gough to whet your appetite.
The mill-girl's song
Tap of the knocker-up's stick on our window
Wakes me from a dreamless night
Me and my sisters, muttering over buttons
Bitter cold our fingers’ spite.
Three sets of teeth, their dry bread munching
Good days: eaten with salty lard
Same teeth chattering in the morning freshness
The splash of cold water in the yard.
With the sound of clogs, clattering on the cobbles,
We join our clumping pace
No one speaking, ‘How do?’ only
Saving breath for daily race.
Factory bell, it’s strident clamour calls us
Leave our clogs outside the door
Water gushing, bare feet slapping
Climb hard stairs to spinning floor.
Always turning, spinning, clacking, sliding,
All noise stems from mill’s great wheel
Gets inside your head, your lungs, your heart.
Machines are all you hear and feel.
Till at last, machines fall silent,
Spill outside for just a spell
All too soon, at bell's new clamour,
We climb again to noise of hell.
Unheard, one girl starts a silent singsong
Reading lips, we all join in
Till machines once more fall silent, till
Slapping down the stairs again.
Homeward bound our clattering clogs, forward
To fireside, tea and company we look
Laughing, shouting, we girls giggling, knowing
Boys at us will take a look.
Round the fire we cluster, chatting happily
Then our chores these six days number
Till, work done, the stairs now creaking
Welcome silence of longed-for slumber.