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Saturday, December 13, 2008


by Peter Branson

"The opinion that art should have nothing to
do with politics is itself a political attitude."
--George Orwell, “Why I Write.”

Young Costa girl
with fashionable dreadlocks
and early morning eyes
sits down, no customers
about, asks what
you write: a poem
on 'Tolpuddle',
at least you're trying to.
"They pay the minimum,
this lot. No unions here;"
melt-water over stone.
The coffee bar warms up
so she must leave,
missing your mulled
apology by miles.

Robbed of their common wealth,
farm workers starve
on seven bob a week.
These fields were hedged with greed.
No combination laws,
the charge is fixed and primed:
transported seven years,
but not for what's been done
and said, grapeshot across
the bows. "The Safety of
the country is at stake,"
the Judge points out.
In 1984,
"The enemy within,"
life imitated art.

Peter Branson is a creative writing tutor. Until recently he was Writer-in-residence for "All Write" run by Stoke-on-Trent Library Services. He began writing poetry seriously about five years ago and has had work published by many mainstream poetry journals, including Acumen, Ambit, Envoi, Iota, 14, Fire, The Interpreter's House, Poetry Nottingham, Red Ink and Other Poetry. In the last two years he has had success in several competitions including a first prize in The Envoi International, a second place in The Writing Magazine Open and a highly-commended in The Petra Kenney. His first collection, The Accidental Tourist, was published in May 2008.