Saturday, October 14, 2006

When a Factory's Life Ends
By Don Iannone

The foul gray smoke that once belched
from the tall brick stacks
was a bittersweet sign of life--
that the old factory was still working.
The smoke has now ended,
along with the noisy metal-banging,
that for so many years kept men busy from sun up till sun down.
The iron gates are chained shut,
and never again will greet the dark faces of the hardened men
with stale breath from strong black coffee and cigarettes.
It's too easy to blame too many strikes
for the factory's foreboding silence,
but hungry workers elsewhere,
willing to work for much less,
and customers needing less metal,
are just as much the reason
why the dark faces have grown much darker.
The mill is history--
a cold, lifeless archeological ruin,
and so are the paychecks that paid the bills
and gave some small consolation to the two thousand men,
who laughed at each other's lame jokes,
and dreamed of days when they wouldn't have to work so hard.
Now that day has come,
and the dreams and jokes have ended.

8 comments:

Rob said...

I particularly like that bit about laughing at lame jokes.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

really nice!

EATING POETRY said...

Sad. I love how you started out with the mourning of the facory as an "it" and concluded with the 2,000 men who weren't careful what they wished for.

iamnasra said...

How sad...I was about cry seeing the chains on the factory..the faces of worried workers...them leaving what is was a source of butter and bread

iamnasra said...

Indeed a very powerful poem...Thank you Don...

Dan said...

Beautiful!

polona said...

oh, you described the grave reality of manual labourers so well!

dumbdodi said...

Oh Don..great one...I feel sorrow when I look at factory ruins...I did try and write about it...but your poetic take on it is superb

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