Monday, 14 October 2013


Late September, summershine,
fifty thousand pair of feet
hit the streets of Manchester;
Assembly of the People
come to call on Cameron.

Come to cry, come to shout,
from Inverness to Somerset.
Fifty thousand mouths assault
the air in Oxford Road,
to stop the cuts today, to say
We did not give permission to sell the Welfare State.

The spirit of Joe Hill flew in
the flags of solidarity,
in cries to trample down the dirt -
the great lie of austerity;
to stop the cuts today, to say
We did not give permission to sell the NHS.

With whistles and rattles
and clapping of hands,
PCS samba band,
children in prams,
bubbles in sunshine
and rainbows in clouds,
we played the drum slowly to march.

I swear that Shelley was with us today,
his eloquence heating our heads.
And I thought of the few,
and the country they sold.
And we beat the drum faster to march

Then as we turned the corner
into Lower Mosley Street,
the air grew thick and shimmered
with the litany of protest.
The ring of steel and batons,
the string of London Guns,
told us they were in there
and could hear the many roar.

We opened up collective mouths,
let grievance leave our lungs.
NO to constant cuts and caps,
to taxes on the poor!
NO to non-stop brutal chops
and private profiteers!
NO to blood-stained ATOS hands
and working for your dole!
NO to ConDem Nation,
to devastating lives!

The right wing rags ignored the sound
of fifty thousand pair of feet,
of fifty thousand voices
calling Tories on their lies.
They see no, hear no, speak no truth,
so silence and blank pages
censored mention of assembly;
betrayed responsibility.

And though we did not change the world
or overthrow the government,
we demonstrated opposition;
flagged up our resistance.
We showed a strength of unity,
community and care.
Sharpened our collective teeth,
gave succour to our souls.

And on this sunny Sunday,
late September,
we remembered Shelley

‘Ye are many - they are few’.

© Laura Taylor

50,000 march in NHS cuts protest in Manchester
The Peterloo Massacre

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for 3 years, and has lost control of the brakes.