Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HAIL TEESSIDE!, by CECIL DAY LEWIS

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HAIL TEESSIDE!, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Old ironmasters and their iron men
Last Line: And earn fresh honours for our own teesside.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blake, Nicolas
Subject(s): Buildings & Builders; Creation; Enterprise (ship); Iron & Steel Industry; Printing & Printers; Towns

Old ironmasters and their iron men
With northern fire, grit, enterprise began it
A hundred years ago. Later, we scan it—
Desolate homesteads welded into one,
Hamlets grown up to towns, deep anchorages
Gouged out of sand, wastes blossoming with the fierce
White rose of foundries. So the pioneers
Printed their work on nature's open page.
Their steel made bridges from Sydney to Menai;
Their ships networked the sea. Gain was in view
But inch by inch out of the gain there grew
A greater thing—sense of community.

Bridges are for drawing men together
By closing gaps. Could those rough ghosts return,
They'd find a world of difference, but discern
That here is the same breed of men and weather.
You are bridge-builders still. Only, today
You draw six towns into a visioned O,
Spanning from town to town the ebb and flow
Of destiny. A dream is realised. May
The northern kindliness and northern pride
See, as your forebears would, the future in it.
Here, a new span—our lives shall underpin it
And earn fresh honours for our own Teesside.

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