Saturday, 17 August 2013

Peterloo (New Poem)

In the end
It meant absolutely nothing
Once the killing
And the butchery started.

The collective voice of 80,000 people
Who had marched
For hours and hours
Meant absolutely nothing
When they were cut down
Like cattle by the score.

Everybody had arrived in a
Disciplined and organised contingent
Like a troop of soldiers
From the hills
And the outskirts
But ran like scared children
When the sabres flashed
In the daylight,

And the bodies lined the fields
While others
Were kicked down cellars casually
And pregnant women
Had their skulls ripped open.

Everybody had arrived
To peacefully protest
Proclaiming Henry Hunt’s words
Armed with no weapon
But a self approving conscience.

It meant nothing of course

And the stench
Still stinks across time
And echoing footsteps
Across Manchester Peace Gardens
Near where scores
Were cut down without mercy,

Without a care
Like daytime ghosts
Lost on a carnivorous landscape,

Before disappearing into the sunset
And cruelty
Which has only changed shade
In the years since

But never it’s texture.
Never it’s texture.
Remembering Shelley’s words
Ye are many – they are few.
Ye are many – they are few.
Ye are many – they are few
But never it’s texture.
Something we could all with remembering.

(In memory of those who lost their lives at Peterloo)