I walk through the grounds of the abbey,
Lost in my meditations,
With the burden that I carry,
A banner for a demonstration.
Tourists swarm around me,
Some move in files like ants
Crawling over history,
Consuming what’s left behind.
Perhaps they see the grand buildings,
The cornices, gargoyles and spires,
But I see through this feudalist frippery,
To class power that lurks inside.
I unfurl my flag of protest
Hoist on a telescopic pole
There are slogans and placards around me
Parliament’s close and remote.
We are free to shout on a pavement
Orators can urge and rant
But concrete barriers and armed police,
Keep power and powerless apart.
London traffic never falters one second,
It’s always got somewhere to go,
Solidarity with strikers,
Shall not obstruct its flow.
The tourist buses pass us,
And phones and cameras click,
A demo is turned into data,
Impaled on selfie stick.
We’re all just part of the spectacle, that the tourists may later replay,
They saw a real genuine protest, and heard protestors shout,
With flags and placards and banners,
But what was it all about?”