Martyr

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Martyr

 

T’was the twenty fourth of February,

eighteen thirty four,

when the Tolpuddle sheriff

came a’knocking at my door.

Served with a warrant

I was swiftly hastened away

for taking an illegal oath

to challenge my meagre pay.

 

You see we were only paid six shillings a week

for working the squires land,

so we set up a trade union

and in our little band

there was James Hammett and James Brine,

Thomas Standfield and his son John.

my bother James and I, George Loveless,

brought together to right a wrong.

 

They had already cut our wage three times

in just as many years

and the Revolution ‘cross the channel

had raised land owners fears,

so when the squire, John Frampton,

got wind of what we’d done

he decided to stamp the union out

and quell our rebellion.

 

The six of us met in the village

‘neath the shade of a sycamore tree,

we talked about our plan of action -

took an oath of secrecy.

But for this simple action

we would lose our reputation,

sentenced to hard labour

and seven year’s transportation..

 

In prison I scribbled some words

“We raised the watchword, Liberty,”

and added as an afterthought
“We will, we will, we will be free!”

Simple words from a simple man

not signalling aggression

just asking for the working class

to rise up against oppression.

 

And comrades rallied to the cause

so that every politician

took heed of the voice of the country

as eight hundred thousand signed a petition -

and it took them three long years

before they listened to the plea

and sent us home as heroes,

pardons granted, safe and free.

 

Some called we six martyrs -

but that don’t sit well with me,

just lessons learned that justice

can be served with unity.

So when they come to take you

band together, don’t bend the knee,

stand up and be counted

bonded in solidarity.

day 15from speakers perspectiveNaPoWriMo 2019tolpuddle martys

◄ Raising The Standards (With Banners Held High)

From The Attic ►

Comments

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Dorothy Webb

Mon 15th Apr 2019 20:33

ian
I love the strength and determination in your poems and I can only echo Keiths words "you are an inspiration"
Dorothy

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keith jeffries

Mon 15th Apr 2019 15:02

Hello Ian

You seem to be in full flood at the present time. This is another one of those poems for which you are becoming well known and for good reasons. Apathy and disunity will achieve nothing against corrupt government and oppressive industrialists. You are right to say that only be standing together will be heard and achieve our goals. Keep on writing Ian. You are an inspiratiion.

Thanks
Keith

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