Patroness of spinners
grown ugly at her wheel,
head hung, back hunched in sackcloth,
lip long as her ordeal.

She spins a yarn,
old mistress of the wheel
between bobbin, tread and spindle,
bites it short with sallow zeal.

Her spinners upped and left her
for Jenny’s threads and Crompton’s Mule,
abandoning her mysteries
for slavery to Cotton Lords’ rule-

secrets of flax, skutching and retting
lost with the acts of hackling and spinning,
cottage life and home spun linen
lost with hard won self subsistence.

She spins her yarn through a golden age.
She spins it back with a roar of rage.
She spins til her back is stiff and bent.
She spins til her lip is torn and rent.

Now cheaperies abound in every shop.
At the back of each shop is a Habetrot
spinning her yarn and biting it short
as she turns her slowing wheel.

*The image above is from The Fairy Ring


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