Rodborough Fields 9th July 2012

It was just another sultry Tuesday
At the Clothiers Arms on the Bath Road,
Beer and fags and crisps and mobile ‘phones,
When a flash contingent of walkers popped up,
All arrayed in Stroud Scarlet uniform:
T-shirts, frocks, dresses, jackets, tunics, leggings,
Seventy -five people demonstrating
Their commitment to Rodborough Fields,
With a meander through time and space;
William Cobbett and weavers’ riots
(‘I have the sweat of the brow, but no bread’),
Mills, ponds, canals, bridges and viaducts,
Kingfishers, dragonflies and butterflies,
Fronds and ferns by the shaded River Frome;
We ascended side by side through the fields,
To listen by our venerable oak tree,
Stroud scarlet stretched on shared tenterhooks,
Sunlight shimmering through the scarlet flags,
A silent evangelical procession,
Pilgrims’ Progress on the straight and narrow path,
Memories recorded by the gateway,
A pitched camp of symbolic resistance,
Standing sentinel in Rodborough Fields.

Thanks to Mike and Richard and John and everyone for making this such an utterly memorable occasion – and thanks to BBC2, too, for their appearance.