Peterloo: Estimated Wrap 19.00

Kate Rutter

We were woken and called into the light and what a light it was.
Lamps concealed in crevices were shone through sheets of Sunday white.
Everywhere the bellows moved, fog poured like weavers’ winter breath.Many hands, all dressed like men, made ready and when our living likeness
stepped into the room, and what a room it was, high and clear of cotton dust,
we heard again the words that were to cut us down. Over and overthose words were spoke but not to beat us with, this was no courtroom.
The likenesses had a well-fed look and clean. They sat on ample backsides
and with hands like children’s hands on laps, at last they understood.Was it our place to warn them then, to break the years and show ourselves?
Or were we fetched back only for witness? We breathed hunger in their ears.
We wove flowers and laurel leaves. We marched the square in step with them.And when the horsemen rode with sabres raised, we grieved our opened breasts,
our slashed and ruined faces. Although the square was not our square , the time
was not our time, on that day it was all such squares, littered with shoes and roses.

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Kate Rutter is an actor in film, television and theatre and this strongly informs her work. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, Magma, The North, Matter, and in several anthologies.

Magma Poetry

Summer 2018

Carshalton
England

Editors: Susannah Hart and Paul Stephenson

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