They gave the city a stroke. Its memories
are cordoned off. They could collapse on you.
Water leaks into bricks of the Workers’ century
and every meaning is blurred. No word in Roget
now squares with another. If the word is Manchester
it may be Australia, where that means sheets and towels.
To give the city a stroke, they mixed a lorryload
of henbane and meadowsweet oil and countrified her.
Now Engels supports Max, and the British Union
of beautiful ceramics is being shovelled up,
blue-green tiles of the Corn Exchange,
umber gloss bricks of the Royal Midlands Hotel.
Unmelting ice everywhere, and loosened molecules.
When the stroke came, every bottle winked at its neighbour.