Old Church (Manchester, 1968)

by Abida

 Old Church (Manchester,1968)

 

Red brick, terraced houses in lines, street after street,

full to the brim with Mill working families,

surrounding vast rectangular shadows of cotton mills.

 

A dark outline, rectangular too,

a steep triangle of a roof.

The old church abandoned at night,

all hard edges of stone, slate, flagstones.

A massive tree in the darkest corner of it\'s yard

conversing, whispering to itself

a mass of shivering leaves 

on a warm night breeze in June.

 

The whoop whoop of laughter disturbs.

Boys shouting

‘Come on Joe I dare’st you…’

‘This way Trevor’.

‘Andr...’ - names, quickly cut off by hands slapped over mouths,

Slap of shoes on flagstones.

Heads bobbing over the brick wall,

arms held high in an arc

sharp crack as a stone

hits a bedroom window.

The target - the immigrant house.

Rattle, as other stones hit back yards and shed roofs.

Lights come on in upstairs windows.

Immigrants never sleep soundly,

fearful of waking up to more graffiti on their front door,

smashed windows at the back.

 

Loud laugher, many shushes…

quick patter and slap of shoes running away.

 

The immigrant children kept vigil all night,

hardly able to keep their eyes open at school the next day.

 

Abida

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