Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Lodgemore Mills and the Elements:

Lodgemore Mills and the Elements:

There is a sort of elemental magic at work at Lodgemore -
The very word itself suggests an ability to expand beyond
Natural confines of space and time:
The lodging of Fire, Air, Earth and Water,
A numinous presence around these mill walls,
A perpetual elemental infusion and confusion
Of history, continuity and change:

There have been three fires here: in 1802, 1811 and 1871:
The 1829 Register of Pennsylvania looked at
The phenomenon of ‘spontaneous combustion’,
And ‘enumerated several substances, which under particular circumstances spontaneously inflamed, and it may be serviceable to mention, as a caution to woollen manufacturers, that a destructive fire at Lodgemore Mills near Stroud, in Gloucestershire, which happened, June, 1811, was occasioned by a quantity of flocks impregnated by Curier’s oil being left on the floor.’

The air, so necessary for this combustion,
Was once, more comforting,
Enveloping the cloth
Stretched out to dry on tenterhooks;

The subterranean limestone,
Quarried for mill, factory and cottage,
Also gave up its
Fullers Earth,
So necessary for the cleaning of the cloth;

The limestone and the Fuller’s Earth,
Also gave the five valleys its springs,
Its streams, rivers, cuts and canals,

For Lodgemore Mills,
For the sluice gates; the maze of waterways, streams, rivers, Navigations, spumes, flumes and watery divagations,

Dripping down the mouldering walls and rusting guttering;

Once stoked beneath the now crumbling chimney,
And no longer wreaking spontaneous havoc;
Air, Earth and Water
Nurturing the ash trees growing tall above the mill roofs;
Gothic-green ivy clambering over walls
And the present tense,
As the past reclaims the future,
In a landscape where nothing is stable,
All is mutable,
As the elements jostle for their daily lodging at Lodgemore Mills,
Watching us pass by in contemplative, detached amusement:
‘Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

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