Anchor Mill Girls

Three women, arms linked in the classic mill-girl way, dancing,
hurling peasemeal, jabbing hairpins
hijacked a piano organ,
commandeered a tramcar,
threw herring at the barrowman,
wild larking, mill hooter spilling on to the streets.
Toe typists’ bare feet propel spindles at high speed
walled in by cheeses of unbleached cotton
It’s a stifling heat, deafening noise.
Rats flit and flee,
beetles crawl from bales, fall to the floor.

Some girls adopt the swagger of Diana Dors
wear gallusness like lettering on rock
mouthy and modest,
cruel and careful,
subversive and under the thumb.
Mill lassies live on,
mill dumpers, tough, gallus, none too bright,
pre-feminist heroines.

Their descendants celebrate
all that remains,
the Paisley Thread Mill Museum.


Photo courtesy of Paisley Thread Mill Museum, Ferguslie Mill Lassies, 1972

Source: From ‘Run of the Mill – Paisley’s mill lasses’, an article in The Scotsman, 18 March 2000

Contributor: Maggie Mackay,  a whisky and jazz loving Scot and final year MA student at Manchester Metropolitan University, has work in various print and online publications including The Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Amaryllis, Bare Fiction, Beautiful Dragons, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Indigo Dreams, The Fat Damsel, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, I am Not a Silent Poet, Silver Birch Press, The Poetry Shed, The Linnet’s Wings and Three Drops Press

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