Churchill sent his troops into Llanelli,
For to break up a railway workers strike
1911, a militant year,
When people earned much more than they were paid.
In Britain, one in ten, outside the gates,
Workers ranked together on picket lines,
Seamen and dockers, colliers, miners,
Pre first world war working class radicals
Stood strong, side by side, as they fought for change.
Churchill, ruthless, ordered fixed bayonets
To be used on the streets of Llanelli.
Some jumped up nob mumbled riot act words,
Quiet, so most people there never heard,
Naked iron fists slid from velvet gloves.
After one warning shot, fired over heads,
Tin plater, Jac, fell dead in Llanelli
With English lead pumped into his belly,
All told six lay dead, hundreds more wounded,
As London released it’s Leviathan.
Churchill had acted as Thomas Hobbes taught,
Keep people in order with only one thought,
Keep all in awe of terror of the sword,
As they made martyrs they sang praise the lord.
Nothing Churchill did
will ‘ere be forgot,
This butcher of comrades he ordered shot,
As they fought for our rights in Llanelli.
When they died for our rights in Llanelli.
This precursive act, and so many more,
Prefigured mass slaughter in first world war,
Workers lives come cheap throughout history,
As they did on the streets of Llanelli.
Stay staunch now comrades, keep singing our songs,
We won’t forget them, their fight carries on,
Our heroes on the streets of Llanelli.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 19th July 2021.
I will be reading this poem at this Live Poets Society Event on Monday 16th August at 7.00pm British Summer Time. https://facebook.com/events/s/live-poets-riot-at-llanelli/2872288779703594/