Poetry interlude: Shoddy by Terry Simpson

Another poem from friends at Leeds Survivors Poetry. It’s great how Shoddy has inspired so much creativity. This poem by Terry Simpson echoes some of the issues touched on in this blog, particularly disabled people’s lives during the industrial revolution.




Before there was industryOld photograph of The former industrial townscape of Crompton from the east, then in Lancashire

the mad took their chance

like everyone else


derided or cherished

we were part of a community

part of the way it was


but when COAL liberated

the power of STEAM

suddenly there were towns


gatherings of the unemployed

the unemployable the blasphemous

the immoral and the intoxicated


threatening the new order

so by the time shoddy was invented

disabled people and the mad


were swept up with everyone else

in the Great Confinement

locked away


society’s guilty secret.


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