Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Heritage Hypocrisy


Oh, how we love our stately homes
To stand in awe behind that velvet rope
As from the well-flocked walls
Privilege in oils looks smugly down.

There’s the Duchess and the Earl
But of the serving girl no sign,
No gardener, footman, cook
Yet still we look and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’.

And there hangs gilt-framed equine art 
Of George Stubbs, so accurate and skilled,
But where’s the stable lads, the ostler, groom?
Who pushed brooms and drove the coach?
From what coffers came this finery?
The treasury of slavery, the profit gained
From tortured souls in chains explains
What built this august abode; a gracious greed.

Listen to the guide drop propaganda pearls
About this edifice ‘his Lordship built’
Yet blood was spilt between every chiselled stone
Hewn from the earth with toil and sweat.

For kings did not construct cathedrals
Few barons ever touched a brick
No mortar boards for Lords and Dukes,
They were not Masons; they were thick.

York and Lincoln’s mighty steeples
Were never built by soft rich hands
Nor Chatsworth, Windsor or Westminster
But by the poor, who bore the heavy hod.

Now with no sense of obloquy
They wait in line and pay a fee
To be where tyrants trod,
Around paths and gardens, lofty halls
Built through the fear of God.

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