Treasure Island

Barney Rooney

(belfast)

The English Riots of 2011


The guard was slumbering on his watch
lulled by the ting-a-ting of tills
missed the low percussion beat
the dull thump thump of running feet
gathering grouping clots of youth
in the bloodstream of England's shopping streets.

Angry seed strewn on this barren patch
somehow seemed to find a fertile drill
rampage loosed without a 'mise en scene'
no sugar glass smashed to smithereens
but splintered lives and scattering ebbs and flows
to a crescendo of obscenities and screams.

By-standing shoppers gawp and watch
in fear or awe or tantalising thrill
as the threads are bared that bind each one of us
child tantrums call the bluff and make the fuss
testing law and order's underbelly
or so it looked when shown on the telly.

Front of camera pundits struggled for a snatch
of credible comment or insight that will
make sense, explain or shed some light
on the bewildering laws by which riot self-ignites
combusting into this comic tragedy for fools
regressed to acting playground battle rules.

The vanguard feeling fearless in its fastness
untrodden since old Dixon, Plod and Bill
finds unfettered joy in the chance to make a break
break things, break will, break free to take
the trinkets dangled daily in their face
worthless plastic they could not, nor want to, make.

Aloof, the camera keeps impassive watch
stream of consciousness reducible to stills
unruffled, seeing all and wisely saying nought
until with haste the frames are sorted out
and familiar faces brought to account
to prove control had never been in doubt.

The guard returns to slumber on his watch
lulled by the click-a-click of printed stills
miss the low percussion beat
the dull thump thump of running feet
gathering workless clots of youth
in the bloodstream of England's shopping streets.

Submitted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Edited: Monday, November 25, 2013

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