The Old Northern Mills

This poem was written on the train journey home to Preston from Durham, which cuts through a lot of  old run-down mills whose industrialisation once supported the northern economy. As I passed through, I saw images of how run-down such an important part of the northern industry has become, which reminded me remarkably of a past relationship and how worn down that part of myself became. In the same way the north perceives the hard hours of the mill industry with effervescent nostalgia, I reflected on the bittersweet time of being in a relationship which no longer was any good for me. As a northern girl, the oppression experienced by workers is heavily woven in my day-to-day life and really resonated with me as a metaphor for some of the experiences I’ve had in my personal life.


Hurtling along tracks

Passing the old northern mills

In their various states of decomposition.

All smashed windows, rust and rot

Protruding unstable from the gruesome hills

Like rotten teeth against a rolling landscape

I’m getting closer to home

This song makes me think of some not quite forgotten time

The days gone by.


I do not ever want to go back.


But I like thinking of how awful we were

This land feels like its decaying

In the same way we did

The rebellion, the violence, the fits of passionate rage.

The rotting of the north makes me think of you

And in a sick masochistic way

I love the awfulness

We were vile

We were filthy


I do not forgive you

And I do not miss you


But I miss her

Sometimes at least I miss

Her, or me, who I once was

She was entwined into the decomposition

unbridled and impoverished

rolling sky high.

Oh, she was going nowhere but looked good doing it

nobody hates me anymore.

sometimes I miss the venom in her glare

the skin and bone

skirts too short

gasping for air, for feeling, for release

toxicity personified.


I think it’s just this song

But the nihilism.

it was so delicious


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons released for public domain. 



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