There are some things that stand the test of time
Found in the city that’s yours and mine
Where redevelopment is the enemy
There is beauty there for all to see

Today we have a mixture of concrete and glass
Towering buildings without any class
All the innards are hidden from you
Shiny unapologetic hard to view

Yesterday we found them in the darkest alleys
The ginnels the loneliest places
Hidden doorways back door exits
Broken bottles and eroding facades

You find the old style architecture
Steel beams and bricks and mortar
Hastily built mills from an industrial past
Deemed unfit for purpose can they last?

Cobbled courtyards wooden gates
Painted over graffiti from 1988
Hand painted signs from an evicted mechanic
The rent was high owners in a panic

The Labyrinth of rooms without a view
The broken windows brought the cold to you
Fragile skylights and rickety stairs
You must have guts to work in there

Every corner a haven for our eight legged friends
The mice playing poker uninterrupted in the cellar
The warehouse next door is plagued by the desperate
In the darkness they are sharing needles

But from the outside they never change
A building tall who has lost its name
A cathedral to a lost and past idea
In the darkness they all bring fear

Some have been transformed to concert halls
Heavy metal now pummel the walls
In the past maybe noise of the printing press
Now we have chaos on this industrial mess

Make them into some kind of erratic museum
Demonstrate the old machines and looms
Place our grandfather’s faces on the office wall
Show the world before this life falls

From the outside it looks like a derelict ruin
We have vegetation growing in the gutters
We have asbestos materials everywhere
But for the owners that doesn’t matter

Foundations unstable homeless nest
Arsonists come set fire to the rest
Firefighters fight and they are unable
Now this historical building is unstable

It seems the council got what it wanted
Another piece of history is eliminated
Another slate roof missing from the cities grin
It will be thirty years before they rebuild anything

Look back on the 100 year old maps of this city
The old roads the mills and churches all gone
Bulldozed because maintenance cost too much
So the redevelopers lopped off all of them

They built more buildings in concrete
Pebbled dashed the walls for fun
Here we have a cold concrete wasteland
Nobody pleaded what have they done

Towering tower blocks
Instead of terraced houses
No more community spirit
Only desolate surprises

New cinemas in the docklands
The town centre one big discotheque
The council has destroyed what a city should be
Selling history so they can pay off their debts

As these animals erode our history
Chomping at all the bricks and mortar
These animals poison our skies
And put arsenic in our water

Look at our cities now
Shopping centres and carparks
Office blocks and burger bars
Brothels disguised as banks

Where is the heritage now?
Will you knock down the library because the books are too dusty
Will you remove the war memorial because it’s a haven for the pigeons
Will you remove the flags from the flag market because one person fell
Are you proud of the guild hall and the bus station?

When councillors are only motivated by greed
Not what the city centre needs
Move our heritage out of town
So the cars can park under the museum
We need a drive through shopping centre
We need to protect the gas guzzling motorist
Our past is no longer sustainable
The parks need to be cemented over

Some people fear the bricks and mortar
The cold unpainted steel in the backyard
But this is the heart of every thriving city
Glass buildings are just a shard.
© Darren Hobson April 2021