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Blog - Richard Downes

Declaration 4: Half A Pound Of Freedom


Another poem from the Crouch End Conservation Project I’m working on. I really struggled for a way in. As a subject slavery calls for responsible responses and really what is a town hall in comparison to a life. Plus during my early days in the movement I was told by people like Anna Thorpe and Karen Shook that we shouldn’t be going around pinching other people’s clothes, lifting language from other causes – we need to speak our own.

Eventually, the torpid spell was broken by a chance joke in the office. So, a response to slavery from a joke and then consideration given to the other forms of slavery – the rigours of the work place, and as Mr Marley says we have to free ourselves from mental slavery, too.

Article 4 states: “No one shall be held in or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Half A Pound Of Freedom

Charles asked
Can I get you anything from the shop?
Jo asked
for half a pound of freedom
Alison said
What? In this country?
Charles laughed
Jo despaired
Where are we going to get our freedom from?

Not from the Centre over the hill
Where the draconian master still
Places planning
Above conservation
Squeezes people in rows
on top of people
on top of people
where there is no escape
No escape
from the bus queue
where the wait to leave
is eternal
by houses where prices multiply
causing blight
and deep sadness
for the homeless
surrounded by rotten fruit
and vegetables
as they look deep into
unlit rooms wondering
should they chance the squatting laws
as drunks stumble from bars
lost in a reverie
of days before legislation
ceasing music in the snug
ceasing fun
creating forms
monitoring statistics
and accreditation
New whips
New chains
New stupefaction
From the masters
in the big house
beyond the hill
controlled by bigger masters
in the palace
by the stagnating river
where we choose at last
to jump
and drown
and lifeless
enslaved to new ways
created by the forever Maaaannnnn!!!

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