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Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Great Betrayal

(with a special dedication to Cornwall Council)

You come, you say, where it is your right 
to stay in defence of your heritage.
You come with your children, your dogs, 
your tools, your, white, gleaming vans.
You come with all the trappings of your trade, 
your pick-up trucks, your cars and your money.
All night in my bedroom, your generator hums; 
a sleeping giant grumbles in my ear.

You come on Good Friday as the sky wears
its shroud and the telephone lines fall silent.
On the hillside lies the gleaming stone,
rolled away too lightly and too soon;
there is no hope here, though, only sprawl and spill 
and the clamour and clash of modernity.
You come, you say, in defence of your heritage
yet you batter at the gates of my peace.

© Abigail Wyatt

Abigail Wyatt lives in the shadow of Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall. She is in real danger of financial disaster due to a series of planning decisions taken by Cornwall Council. The most recent of these was to evict a group of travellers from the car park of Carn Brea Leisure Centre and invite them to take up residence in a field just a stone's throw from her home. Abigail hoped to sell her house this summer. Now a sale appears most unlikely.


  1. A powerful poem Abigail, highlighting the tensions between heritage and modernity and people's rights - why do I feel I want to put a lot of words in inverted commas here? I like the economy of language which I think adds to the strength of your poem. And I really feel for you too.

  2. It seems to me not so much as a question of heritage as a cuckoo-in-the nest syndrome.

  3. Thanks, Carolyn. I am quite exhausted with the effort of keeping up the pressure - and working and meeting all my other commitments. I have still been unable to satisfy myself that this action of opening up land without any kind of consultation was taken legally. I am being blocked and stalled at every turn. I do not propose to give up, however.