On a night when the sky was tinted like an ocean of blood,
Dozens, hundreds from the child to eldest
Were slaughtered for the sake of a king believed God.
“Thou art King and Law and God”
They shouted worshiping the man never God
While trampling to death the Lord’s sons and daughters
Wishing for liberty and respect of their souls.
And a man gave a voice to the people’s wishes
Unheard by their Highness like the wind’s whispers.
And a man gave a soul to the people’s passion
When lying in verses the story of the Nation.
He found the best weapon in the use of poetry,
Emphasized the murmur claiming equality,
Taught us that sword and horse are no more powerful
When the hopes of hundreds gather as if one soul.
Through the words raised the sound of beings exhausted
As their fate not by God but humans was sorted.
So he wrote all these words giving shape to the fire
Of a people who for ages to better aspired,
He used silence and poetry – than sword more powerful
Because unless the last not the flesh they wounded,
But they gave victory by fighting in the minds…
This poem was inspired by The Masque of Anarchy, written by Percy Bysshe Shelly about the Peterloo Massacre which happened in 1819 in the city of Manchester. I discovered this text during the brilliant and amazing performance of Maxine Peake during this year’s edition of the Manchester International Festival (see website). She brought on stage a powerful poem and through her voice raised the voices of many, of the hundreds of Mancunians who have been killed during this massacre « for the sake of a king believed God »…