The Aveling’s burning; in the machinery hall
They’re melting down the lathes and the finisher’s tools.
The engines steam and the boilers boil,
With righteous anger at the shame of it all.
The Aveling’s burning; when men were men,
With handlebar moustaches and tobacco tins
And a flask of fine dry London gin
In their overalls pocket for the work day’s end.
The Aveling’s burning; where the fitter’s mate
Met his pouting sweetheart by the factory gates.
He said “when I’m with you I feel ten feet tall”,
Then carved her name into the red brick wall.
The Aveling’s burning; where they first met,
Over Earl Grey tea and cigarettes.
He asked for her hand, “I do” she cried,
Then they walked arm in arm by the riverside.
The Aveling’s burning; like a funeral pyre,
Like an impious crematory fire
For the memories of workers’ lives
For their loves, their laugter and their pride.