For Andy Croft

We didn't make the banners of course.
Professionals did them. But they were ours
in a larger public sense than tradeforce,
region, family, narrow purpose.
Ragworks or things made out of leavings
wouldn't do for what we believed in.

Nor would a mate's invention do
for causes larger than a me and you.
And so we paid for portraits of founders, workscenes,
services members could count on.

You know the result, or saw the like
on a newsflash during the great coal strike.

Likeness (you see) had never been
our art, but a vision (you have to imagine).

Colour was ours, the swaggering bunting
effect, trumpets and drums up front,
and something the scale of a kingsize bedspread
flaring about us overhead.

You see few of them now. Defeat
has left them rolled in cupboards. And yet
sometimes we march. And when, at Greenham
or Treekeep, people uprise, women
mostly, blazons begin to appear
in patchwork, from rags ours for sure.

Arnold Rattenbury

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