A vivid and affectionate portrait of the mill girls of Paisley in the glory days of the town's thread industry.

Mo Blake, the author, is one of four women writers contributing to Mill Girls, an anthology of poems remembering and celebrating the jest for life and resilience of the young women in the industrial world of Scotland's past (Weaving Musical Threads, £5.99).


A streak of gallus ran in

Messages tossed from lips

Mouthed out through the racket

Of machines ratching, clattering

Jarring the nerves to exaggerated speech

Mill lassies mouthy

Crude yet carefully modest

Machines scattering tic tac

Codes from line to line

Menage payments affording

The latest fashion

Then turbans of curlers undone

Arms linked like a Paisley pattern

On their way to the dancing

Threading through streets

Marching, laughing, singing,

Scanning for talent

Gallus lassies, pure dead gallus.