Monday, 30 September 2013

Then and Now

How fitting that, as times get tough,
it's Manchester that cuts up rough

for there it was that once before
the people met inside the law

and peaceably to state their case
as Hunger stared in Plenty's face;

and it was at St Peter's Field
they stood their ground and would not yield

but rather stayed and met with words
and faith those men who came with swords:

who came with swords and did not care
whole families had assembled there,

all dressed up in their 'Sunday best'
as though they came to play or feast.

They came in peace. That much was clear.
It was not they who looked for war.

And yet men fell and women cried,
and Little Billy Fildes died;

and not just he but many more
who looked for justice, not for war.

And now, again, two centuries on,
the people see what must be done;

the lessons of the past are clear:
oppression thrives and prospers - here.

© Abigail Wyatt

Peterloo Massacre

Abigail Wyatt writes poetry and short fiction and lives in hope.