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Elegy Written in a Country Campsite

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Stuck in a rain-swept tent, I read in the newspaper,
“I think we are moving into the era of the team,
as opposed to the era of the star”,
Clap-trapped Rick Parry, of Liverpool F.C.,
As though unsung heroes were a thing of fickle fashion,
Rather than a constant reminder of life’s inequalities,
Just like the Victorian Jubilee monument on the hillside above,
“Erected”, it says, by the Reverend Samuel Paynter, M.A.;
I thought it might have been some nameless navvies, myself,
Or wheezing low paid artisans and arthritic stonemasons,
But there we are, I suppose. Who am I to argue?
But where are the names of all those skilful labourers
Who built these networks of zigzagged dry-stone walls,
Criss-crossing Cornwall’s coastal path and cliff-tops?
Who remembers the names of the tin miners and quarrymen,
The fishermen and women waiting at the quayside
In the fog of those hopeless dawns?
Who remembers the drowned lost men whose lives
Supplied the oil to light the lamps of London’s drawing rooms?
Who recalls the owners of those salt scarred hands,
Relentlessly pressing cold wet fish into barrels,
So that cheap food could be sent to the plantations,
To feed the renamed yet anonymous millions of slaves,
Breaking their backs in the brutality of the West Indies.
These Cornish lives, and these millions of slaves,
All interconnected and latticed like a net across the globe,
Gathering unaccountable wealth for the pockets of others:
“I think we are moving into the era of the team,
as opposed to the era of the star.”
If only.
But better late than never, I suppose.

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/elegy-written-in-a-country-campsite/