Fighting for jobs and the bread on their plate,
Not knowing they’re making our proud city great,
The potters and stampers, the lacers, coal barers,
The trappers and puddlers and machine operators.
All busy Manc bees, some with two jobs a day,
Doing owt that they’re told to take home their pay,
The sewers and scavengers, the cobblers and cloggers,
The dryers and hangers, the bleachers and dockers.
Conditions are woeful each month folk are killed,
Operating machines whilst plying their skills.
The beamers and carders, the tenters and twisters,
The hookers and winders, the doffers and stitchers.
They nurture their trade, they master their craft,
And smother their day in pure honest graft,
The finishers and mashers, the pickers and packers
The quillers and reachers, the reelers and stackers.
Smoggy lives always played out under pollution,
The unsung heroes of our revolution,
The spindle maker, the scutcher, the sizer,
The ruler and rover, the self actor minder.
The clatter of carts, the screeching of wheels,
The shrieking of boilers as the steamer squeals,
The weft carrier and stripper, the tackler and grinder,
The throstle spinner and sizer, the warper and winder.
Machines always clanging, the beat of the loom,
The ear shattering noise of the industrial boom,
The jacquard operator, the overlooker and plater,
The frame tenter, half-timer, the fly and reed maker.
A forest of chimneys and poorly lit streets,
Thick blankets of smog where roof and sky meets,
There’s little in life from which folk can take solace
As the non-stop working bees of…Cotton-o-polis.
Churning out linen: sheets, pillows and towels,
Tiredness gripes as the floor manager growls,
But hit with a whip, they work on, don’t seek pity,
The relentless grafters of Warehouse City.
Each playing a role in this eco-system,
There’s too many jobs… even to list ‘em,
They made our city what today you can see,
So we honour their graft with the Manchester bee.
It’s there on our crest, to show they worked well hard,
On buildings and floors, on beers and on bollards,
To show that their hard, honest graft built this city,
They’ve decorated town with these bees that are busy.
Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin
All rights reserved.