Did you love him, Sally,
You know, the man who lived next door?
A moment of passion
A stolen hour of comfort
That changed my life forever.
You were hardly a spring chicken
Three young children
And him, newly wed
With a bairn on the way.
You took him to court
Made him pay for his deed
Support this new daughter
Miss Elizabeth Ann
Did he hear her cry in the night
Through the partition walls that divide Lily Hall?
Or did his wife’s child’s whimperings
Obliterate that constant reminder?
She took her dead father’s name
And didn’t call James her father
Until she married for a second time
Barely clinging to the hillside
Lily Hall’s window eyes survey the town
Keeping a watchful eye
On the terraces below
As they seemingly slide down the hillside
You watched the mill chimneys soar
New manufactories rise from the ashes of old
The streams diverted, the sluices opened
And the millponds enclosed.
James came from a family of builders
Plasterers, carpenters, cabinet makers
The business grew
Schools, churches, banks and factories.
Now, today, you keep your watchful eyes on me
As I explore the buildings
Where you lived, that you built,
Roads that you traversed
And paths where you once walked.
(Sally Whitham was my great great great grandma)