Machines roar their voracious appetite.
Mill girls risk hands and limbs,
work fourteen-hour days.
River powers turbine belts,
transforms cotton bales to cloth.
Spindle City’s deleterious result,
more slaves on auction blocks.
Black hands blister in cotton fields.
Industrial revolution’s progress
paves misery’s trail.
Written for Monday’s Quadrille at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. De is tending the pub and asks us to include the word “roar” in our Quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words sans title. Photos from this past summer’s visit to Lowell, Massachusetts and the Bott Cotton Mills Museum. Lowell, once known as Spindle City, is recognized as the Cradle of the American Industrial Revolution. The first textile mill was built there in 1826. By 1850 it was America’s largest industrial center with many large textile mills and factories. By 1840 there were 8,000 workers in the mills, mostly women between the ages of fifteen and thirty. Within one year, the mills could transform raw bales of cotton into 50,000 miles of cotton cloth. The North’s increased appetite for cotton textiles led to an expansion of slavery. One side note: Some of the Southern cotton was made into ‘negro cloth’ at the Lowell mills and sold to plantation owners for their slaves.