Occupy Poetry

Digger Hinges

Alan Morrison

Digger Hinges
for the Runnymede Diggers 2012

Squatters of the grasslands over the river from Runnymede
Where John Lackland scratched his mark on Magna Carta, 1215/
2012: youth of England lack any land, while boundaries
Are in abundance, patchworks multiply, cramp up sympathy;

On damp campus water meadows stove-lights glow in Surrey,
Children of the forest sell-offs, berried Gerrard Winstanleys,
Camouflage caps for capotains, blacks, brackens, khakis
Patched in disruptive patterns –Diggers in Greenleaf fatigues;

Lilburne’s cherubs rigged in sea-green ribbons, sprigs of rosemary,
Offspring of empty purse-strings, a borrowed rainbow army
Simmering a common broth from beetroots, sprouts and poetry,
Pamphleteering butterflies primed in leaf-mimic liveries
Reciting seventeenth century verse blotching under eaves
Of dripping twigs, moss-roofed refuseniks with capped knees,
Cropped of hope and property, renters of sheltering leaves
Carving woodchipped bed-sits out from hollowed loins of trees;

No re-enactments needed in parchment-catching histories
Of Cobham, Wellingborough and Iver (Bucks) communities:
Commonweal clamped, Welfare State Turned Upside Down by Tories’
Torching of social tenancies, drubs of verboten poverties –
Dole books now taboo as Latin Bibles of priest-holed popery
Hollow-knocked by Roundheads, no giro says boo to a goosey;

No sanctuary in countryside for homeless of Home Counties,
Barely an acre of hill or scrubland un-inscribed by absentee
Landlords’ stinging signs: NO TRESPASSING! PRIVATE PROPERTY!

NIMBYs tramp their tents and crops, re-evict city evictees –
Generation Tent turfed out from gentrified streets and trees,
Expelled as social lepers, purged to umbrageous canopies;

Thumpers of upturned bathtubs charged on top-up empties,
Mocked as dreadlocked drop-outs, “Trustafarians”, “Crusties”;

A Hunting of the Boxes backdrops Bobbies’ “selfies”:
Porcine snapshots’ damp protestor spoils displayed as trophies;

Locked in cells with hefty fines –but hearts are locket territories
Scallop-clasped to grasping hands; sempiternal properties:
Spirits outstrip fleecing rents of bodies’ shorthold tenancies…

Long grasses of sprung ideas, greening wounds on dungarees,
Pitched hopes can’t be uprooted like poles of pop-up tepees,
Nor can brass mottos be obscured by bruise-blue verdigris:
“To make the waste lands grow” gongs an age old pedigree
Of singed egalitarianism spiralling in perigees
Through Anglo-Saxon Golden Ages ringing in the genes
And rinsing through the guts of Englishness, centuries’
Woodcut rhetoric, Communist Dendrochronology,
Tree-ring radicalism, green-bough pledge of grass lessees
Brokered by young Brackenborough, knowledge by dug degrees
(Ripe scholarship rusticating outside Brunel’s faculties),
Sore-thumb Rainsborough boxed in Facebook redoubts, Twitter feeds;
Utopian pilot, as all past figureheads of his sea-green breed,
Agitators thrust up from pitched pulpits of Hedge Priests;

English Progress swings on Digger hinges and anti-rusting grease;

Giro Goodgroomes, Virtual Everards and Wireless Winstanleys
Occupy the open spaces of non-partitioned Memories,
No patchworks sprawl on maps of strip system topographies;

Blogging Diggers, wireless Levellers, plough fields, threads, sow seeds
Of fellowship in hearts and minds, through laptop posting sprees;
Raise crops in common ownership of Javascript Countries;
Spread broadsides on grapevines from greengages and Blackberries;

Blues and Purples, natural English tinges, yet Reds and Greens
Have been here digging rainbows since the seventeenth century;

Watermelons were imported into England, 1615,
But only when Green rinds are crushed are their Red insides seen…

O English Progress swings on Digger hinges and anti-rusting grease…

Tan Raptures (Smokestack Books, Feb 2017)


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