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21ST-CENTURY POETRY Machineries of Hope

We’ve marched so many times against its excesses;
for the miners, their futures black as coal dust;
for the printers removed from their pungent presses;
for the pickers of fruit, the decaying must
of strawberries, sweet as nostalgia.
We broke our innocence on picket lines,
those working-class machineries of hope,
and played the game of seeing better times.

But in the bramble patch of Capital,
its anarchistic growth a tangled path
of easily commissioned cruelties,
we foundered. Yet still we feel, like Chartists
and the Communards, we fought for love.
Listen, over the horizon, hear our songs.


Arthur Richardson has worked as a bus driver, a railway worker and a trade union officer. Now retired, he lives in Rochdale. 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email



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