Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Adrian Mitchell 24/10/32-20/12/08) - Ancestors / Revolution.


We had an island
Oh were a stomping old tribe on an island
Red faces, hairy bodies
Happy to be hairy
Happy to be hairy
When the breezes tickled
The hairs of our bodies
Happy to be hairy
Happy to be hairy
Next best thing to having feathers-
That was our national anthem.
Right. Hairy tribe,
Hairy red story-telling, song-singing, dragon fighting,
                                                    fire-drinking tribe.

Used to get invaded every other weekend.
Romans, Vikings, Celts - fire and sword-
Pushed us back but they never broke us down.
In between invasions we grew spuds and barley,
Took our animals wherever there was a river and some

When the snows  came, we moved south
When the rivers dried, we moved west
When the invaders came, we burnt our crops, moved.

Until one day we were surrounded by warriors,
The same old fire and sword, but used efficiently.
They slaughtered our warriors, lined up the rest of us
And there were speeches
About law and order, and firm but fair government.

And this is what they did,
This is government.
You take an island and cut it carefully
With the razorblade called law and order
Into a jugsaw of pieces
The big, rich-coloured pieces
Go to the big, rich men.
The smaller, paler pieces
(Five beds two recep barn mooring rights five acres)
Go to the small, rich men.
And nothing at all
Goes to those who have nothing at all.

Absurd? The many nothing-at alls
Wouldn't stand back and see their island
Slashed into ten thousand pieces.
They didn't stand back, our hairy tribal anscestors.
Some of them spoke oot. Some fought back.
They were slashed down by the giant razorblade.

And now, and now the rich seldom have to kill
To defend the land they stole from all the tribe-
Wire fences, Guard Dogs Loose on these Premises
                                                    No Trespassing.
Bailiffs. Security Guards. Police. Magistrates' Courts.
                                                      Judges. Prisons-
Grey prisons where the brain and the flesh turn grey
As the green English years stroll by outside the walls.
So who needs fire and sword?
The tribe has been tamed
And our island
Our daft green stony gentle rough amazing haven
Entirely surrounded by fish
Has been stolen from the tribe.
It was robbery with most bloody violence.
And that was history, history is about the dead.
Then is our tribe dead? Is our tribe dead?
Is the tribe dead?


Its first shots will burst out of the earth
silently, at the wrong time of year
in a silent part of the island
far from the patrolling armoured cars.

A finger, pointing towards the sun,
which will be mistaken for blades of grass
if anybody notices it at all.

One deep night, an armoured division,
returning from an easy mission
in Leicester or in Birmingham
will be crushed by the branches
of the numberless, nameless trees
of an overnight forest.

And those breeding trees
with eccentric outlines
will be no more like our theories
than a hippoptamus
is like a parrallelogram.

Poems reprinted from :-

The apeman cometh - Adrian Mitchell, Jonathan Cape,

governments only serve governments
let the tribes increase.


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