Poetry from NHI publications

The hooter's buzz proclaims the night shift's start
The clicking bell clocks each man in or out;
Inside, to tend the steel works' glowing heart
To clank by tram for home or pub without.

The gateman turns towards his welcome fire
The first hand melters pull their glasses down,
Now foremen to their cubicles retire
And soon slow midnight will black out the town.

The works lives on within monastic walls
Distinct, a string of islands in the dark,
Its pulse made known as each drop-hammer falls
The glare of molten steel its special mark.

And in the gloomy alleys of the works
Or by the sudden blaze of talk or flame
Its men re-roll their heritage which lurks
Unseen, half-felt, and wholly without name.

If asked, they would reply they worked for cash
Too shy, they can admit no other cause,
Yet samples reach the lab. with extra dash
The pirouetting chargers seldom pause.

What then do they embody in their steel
Besides skill, sweat, long nights away from home?
Its essence is the root of what men feel,
What makes them tough and strong as nickel-chrome.

They love their flaming furnaces, they do
Their soaking pits, their trains of roughing rolls.
They have their wells of pride the same as you;
Those who think not, I class among the fools.

The knowledge of their worth is plain to them.
When tapping steel, each one on all depends.
From common effort every bloom must stem
And moral values this alone defends.

This single element refines the grain
And men however coarse it can transmute.
Our problem is to raise it up again,
Set its supremacy beyond dispute.

The Impact of Steel
ISBN 0 903610 28 0

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