A poem a day: Brides of Rochdale

[Edit 1st May 2016: Had a nightmare with technology yesterday. Although I wrote this poem during the day I struggled getting it up on the blog in time!  Admittedly, the two large glasses of white wine in the evening possibly didn’t help with this…]

Final poem of the month and not following the final prompt (although I do intend to do a “translated” dialect poem at some point).   Brides of Rochdale is a shop I pass when I walk from the train station along Drake Street into Rochdale.  It catches my eye each time with its changing shimmering window display with dresses in an entire rainbow of colours.  What intrigues me about Drake Street -as well as businesses that are no longer in operation – are the different shops, pubs and takeaways there.  From the chain store “adult toy shop” to the place with the used pianos (candelabra on a grand piano), the new youth music club, the place where the hydroponics shop was, to “Bailey’s of Rochdale Massage” (yes, cringe, no relation).

Yet it’s nothing that’s unfamiliar; in Stockport walking down Little Underbank you pass similar empty buildings and similar features: Harmony’s  (I’ll let you guess what that sells), the place where Cobwebs the goth clothing shop was (ah, where I used to get all my tassled skirts in the 1990s!), out-of-business but “online only” hydroponics and “greenhouse supplies”, a bridal and groom wear shop, Stage Door theatre supplies, two dodgy looking pubs, charities, and a couple of new, hipsterish tea shops.

Similar details yet several miles apart.

Brides of Rochdale
Here they are, waiting,
all ice cream froth rustle,
all waterfalls of soft net.
Princesses crowned
with “preloved” diamante.

Blushes of expectation
painted on white plastic cheeks.
They gesture, grip nothing,
or hold out mannequin hands
giving or begging.

A size ten or cinched in XL,
sparkling pearl bodice
(cold glass beads)
rhinestone lustre,
like lines of lightning on Hail Storm Hill,
available in the entire colour spectrum.

How many silk worms died for this?
This shop of pastel hope,
of “little girl” dreams,
all bundled in zipped-up black plastic.

And the rain comes down again,
tear drops on the window pane,
distorting lenses for bridesmaid dresses.

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5 thoughts on “A poem a day: Brides of Rochdale

  1. I often walk down Drake Street and my heart is filled with grief as mental images of yesteryear flood my mind. What happened here? Can it go any worse? Is urban decay alive and well? Can we stem the tide or despair?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Done as requested! I didn’t notice either. That said, I really like the idea of a heart filing something away, there’s something poignant about that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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