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Black Britons Here Before The English

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Did anyone else in the crowd at Gloucester City,
Watching the football on that cold autumn day,
Also see the ghosts of Black Britannia,
As I did in that dying sun’s ray,
For there they were in numinous glory,
And this I tell is their true story:
He, African, an auxiliary,
She, from the Dobunni, mute, deaf and dumb,
Had arranged to meet by the sacred oak,
Hidden and sheltered from keen Roman eyes
By dense dark woods of smooth barked beech.
He, a skilled boatman from the River Nile,
Had deserted from the Kingsholm garrison –
Beaten, whipped, lashed and drunkenly abused
By officers for civilised amusement,
He found silent sympathy, trust and love,
With this mute young woman from the wine shop.
She, like him, violated for cheap fun
And entertainment, forced to play the fool,
Was also a skilled, rehearsed dissembler –
For inside her outwardly dumb-struck mind,
Lay the pregnant knowledge of Druidic lore,
Hidden safe within a timeless vision.
She, beyond suspicion and Roman law,
Led him by the hand, as the red sun’s rays
Sank behind the high shrine to Mercury;
She, night-navigator of the marshland paths,
Walked sure-footed through the dark rustling forest,
(For they sheltered and slept through the daylight hours),
Until they slipped unseen past the messenger post,
To climb the limestone Cotswold scarp
And then fast descend, down to the River Severn;
He silent stared west across the river’s width,
Measuring the distance away to the Silures,
Until he eased their hidden boat with gentle paddle,
To find freedom on that distant shore.
Three centuries later, their Welsh descendants,
Mixed heritage – lineage dark skinned Britons,
Would fight for Britannia against the invader,
Those blonde haired blue eyed Anglo – Saxons:
There were Black Britons here before the English.

Just as E P Thompson said in “The Making Of The English Working Class”, sometimes you have to imaginatively move beyond the written sources of evidence.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/black-britons-here-before-the-english/