Verdant Works

By Anna MacDonald

Silently echoing thro’ Verdant Works

O’er granite and flint cassies

Hooves clatterin’ – cairtwheels rattlin’

As lads eye up the lassies

In the eighteen-hundreds

Workers wrought a twelve-hoor shift

And wove textile heritage

Wi’ toll and thrift.

 

Stowers hookin’ graded bales

(Stalwart-pleasin’)

Batchers bale-splitting

Spreader-feeders teasin’

Breaker hands breaking’-in

Thro’ oil and water mix

Backs brackin’ – chests hackin’

On shifts six tae six

 

Thick stour

Deafenin’ sound

O’ working machinery

All around

Caird hands preparing fibre

Signal “time-on-the-clock” mute

Graftin’ stretchin’ – strengthenin’

Coarse raw jute

 

Drawing hands crimpin’

Tae final Low Mill phase

Seldom (if ever)

Gainin’ High Mill praise

Cans o’ sliver-feeding’ spinners

Puttin’ up an end

Orra hands in the frame path

Are aye the spinners friend

 

Bobbins spinnin’ – ever rinnin’

Reels for the factory flair

Lookns clackin’ carpet backin’

Wi’ skill and care

Sturdy jute sackin’

Stands the test

And Prairie Schooner* sails

Are on shipment tae the West

 

Shifters shiftin’ bobbins

Winders spoolin’ on-an-aff

Workin’ thro’ gaslicht

Wi’ little time tae chaff

Half-timers frae Big Works schules

Work at steady pace

Each abidin’ by the rules

(Bobbins in their place)

 

Thro’ Low Mill and High Mill

Present and past

Textile heritage

Woven to last

Is preserved in museum

in the city – Dundee

A tribute to the Jute Mill Age

And times that used to be

 

 

 

*covered wagons