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All day, the steady downpour had washed the dusty streets

Of this darken'd red town, snuggling into the lower reaches

         Of the invisible Pennines; the echoes

Of industrial smoke from past decades

Lingering in the air; the ghosts

         Of grim-faced cotton-spinning labourers

Disappearing down the cobbled passageways

         Rochdale lay,

Spreadeagled against the Lancashire earth and tradition

Like the pelt of a slaughtered animal

Pinned against a secluded wall to mature

But once the outline of the surrounding hills became clear

The outside world seemed to return

If at a forbidding distance

No longer were we alone though

For even the pale spring evening sunlight had discovered us

May 1974

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