Stroud Spring, Stroud Summer 1825; May 19th 2013

The Spring and Summer of 1825?
Nothing here about the weather, I’m afraid,
 Instead, anonymous letters portending
Murder, mayhem and machine-breaking,
 With arson and mill destruction
Thrown into the pot for good measure;
Silent shuttles, strikes, mute looms,
Bosses’ men and strike-breakers
Ducked in the various brooks and waters
In acts of summary Christian justice;
Mass meetings on the hills and in the valleys,
On the commons and in the streets of Stroud,
The Riot Act read, with gallant hussars
Riding down would-be trade unionists,
(“We accomplished this with…slash of the sword only”)
The street-seller of “The True British Weavers”
Thrown into gaol without trial, or jury.
This was the spring and summer of 1825,
When thousands fought the market place,
In the hills and valleys of the Cotswolds;
This is our unmarked Radical Heritage,
But your sixth sense can secretly sense it:
Create theatres of memory in your mind,
Invoke Stroud’s Spirit of Place,
Then invite spectators to their seats.