John Roche


Gleneagles Sequence

Aftermath, Prelude to Gleneagles

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
5 July 05
café called "Chocolate Soup"

All is calm today
after what tabloids call "The Battle of Princes Street"
policemen friendly, if wary,
riot trucks just out of sight
shops and museums reopen
a few still sporting boards or cork over plate glass

No beheadings today

People's Carnival

Clown army
Coming through the rye
            beyond the barbed wire
                        at Gleneagles
Chinook helicopters and a phalanx of riot police
            can't stop
                        the marching band on the hillside
                        nor the conga line of clowns
                                   as stilt puppets do a danse macabre
                                               silhouetted against the horizon


Met a family on the march to Gleneagles today,
            just after arriving,
Only last evening I'd sat with them and chatted
            during "Literary Pub Tour" in Edinburgh

Father, mother, 22-yr old daughter
            from English Midlands
Told me how they'd been going to anti-nuclear and antiwar and anti-capitalist
          demos together since the girl was in diapers (red, presumably)--
Firm testimony that the family that demonstrates together...

So very British, perfect in their ordinariness,
Right out of a BBC comedy skit, yet ever so thoughtful and gentle

When the march stalls, due to trouble at the gates,
            the family decide to step to a side lane,
            take their miniature camp stove from out the rucksack,
            and make tea

Thus is peace restored!

Missing the Bus

Scottish Socialist Party bus commissars
            took off without me
"The Revolution stops fer no mon"
Though I'd borrowed cellphone to tell them I was on the other side of the village
            after walking the length on a bad tip as to where the police had sent them

In fairness, another SSP steward tried valiantly to get rides for us sixty or so,
Stragglers sitting by the park, swatting midges as the sun went low
            and police cars lurked like cats
Finally had to join the refugees hoofing the miles to Gleneagles Station,
But caught a lift and made it back to Edinburgh by last call
            and the chance to toast the Coming Revolution!

After Gleneagles

Nothing like exhilaration
            of hiking the road
                        on yr last legs--
But those purple hills!

Note: On 6 July, 2005, under the banner, "Another World Is Possible," a coalition of peace and anti-globalization groups conducted a peaceful march near the Gleneagles golf resort, where George Bush, Tony Blair, and the rest of the G8 world leaders were meeting. About 4,000 marchers managed to make it to the gates of Gleneagles, despite a cordon of police roadblocks on the roads leading in. The march followed a weekend of "End Hunger Now" concerts in London and Edinburgh, and occurred one day before the London bombings.