The Golden Past

It is now 1841. A thick cloud of smoke, dust, and deadly bacteria hangs in the room of dark hovel, stenching of filth and decay. Anne, now sixty, welcomes as best she can her great-grandchildren. Seeing their wretched condition she thinks back on her youth...

"Ah, listen. It wasn't always like this, you know. When I was young, the sky was as blue as finest china. Yes, we worked hard too, but in a lovely cottage looking out over the garden. My aunt Mary-- she used to compose poetry in her head as she spun the yarn. Can you imagine trying to do that with the din of the steam engine banging in your head, and the foreman there just looking for a reason to dock you; if he doesn't smack you too."

"Ah, now that was a life worth living. A life worth fighting for! Not like this sorry state of affairs that passes for a future. Back then, we worked together. A real family, like it's supposed to be. Nowadays, you hardly see the little ones, except when they come dragging back from that infernal place, filthy and pale as little bugs of the night. And rare it is they live to be twenty-one."

"Be still a minute, and let me sing you a song about it. Its about the old days, before the smoke, before the mills, before even old Ned Ludd had his day. Back in the Golden Past ."

Once we'd have welcomed you
our doors pushed open
as you walked our path.
A board of English charm
spread before you,
my loom you'd see beside the hearth.

I remember the time.
I wove the flowery web,
for gains around my door.
In the Golden Past.

A family now torn each morn
by the ring of the factory bell,
and cut to the heart
at the meals they devour,
now living the worst of both worlds.
Our ornaments robbed,
and we lie on straw, they've
torn away our beds of down,
by unfeeling tax gatherers
and tyrants alike.
Our lives in exchange for a pound.

As if I had no mind.
(we're made to cook and clean)
Accused of prostitution of the heart.
As if England never had a Queen!

Once we'd have greeted you
with grace of English women.
Our cottages clean
as the palace of our King.
This was our way--
in the Golden Past.

I remember the time.
I wove the flowery web,
for gains around my door.
In the Golden Past.

Luddites! Speak your minds!

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