Saturday, 25 September 2010

Lord Have Mercy On Us: A Poem By Pete Marshall

“Lord Have Mercy On Us”
a poem by Pete Marshall

Darkness falls on cobbled streets
That lead to doors of deep despair
The bell is rang for those that died
As wafts of death pollute the air

A heavy cart that trundles on
Collects the love that fell away
As Royals feast in silver halls
And chew the fat of life’s decay

The fires roar and warm their bones
Whilst bells are tolled and paupers roam
And streets are paved with others gold
Who hike the rates beyond two fold

A weary beast that pulls his load
As master sits with whip in hand
Is led beyond the outer walls
To bury hope amongst the damned

The petals fall from flowered stems
Of roses sung in lullaby’s
The pits are filled from broken homes
And dreams that lived and slowly died


The Great Plague of 1665 devastated families and communities within the City of London. If plague was found in a household is was sealed, condemning the whole family to death. A red cross was painted on the door of these houses along with the words “Lord Have Mercy On Us.” At night corpses were collected to the cry “bring out the dead”, and placed in a cart to be taken away to the plague pits.

This poem is not just about the plague of 1665 but also the plague that is currently controlling the City of London. The Financial Institutes that are responsible for destroying peoples life’s and helping create this current recession….the Banks…..

For those of you that have been following the "My Struggle With Unemployment" series you will, no doubt, feel my own personal suffering within this piece...this week has been hard for my family and I as we have been to the Courts to fight our own battle with the plague.........


Scott said...

"The petals fall from flowered stems Of roses sung in lullaby’s
The pits are filled from broken homes
And dreams that lived and slowly died" Wow. Solemn lines, but considering both contexts very fitting. I mean, wow. I think for any of us, even here in the US (the state of California is broke)we're all in fear of that 'red cross' going up over our doors. Good share.

signed...bkm said...

Great write Pete --I went and saw Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps
out tonight in theaters....the dreams that died all around --this write restates that "History repeats itself"...

No one seems to have an answer to this mess we are currently in....bkm

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers & Artists said...

I didn't think of the plague first but glad you explained it. I am sorry that families such as yours are having to endure through the heartless and callous behavior of those who have plenty in their bank accounts. they are starting to paint the doors again - are they not???

Excellent my friend-hang in there

tuberider said...

Great poem! Very lyrical.

Brian Miller said...

nice write have such a way with words...know that we think of you and pray often for you situation...really some great lines in here...

Claudia said...

we had the same in basel - twice
what i like is that you paint the line to today's economical crisis - not as obvious as back in the 16th century but brings death of another kind..great write pete!

dustus said...

Powerful poem, Pete. "To bury hope amongst the damned..." The unemployment rate in Michigan is 13%, though by appearances seems higher... More families face and enter poverty— the hopelessness continues.

HisFireFly said...

Keeping you in my prayers.. much to read between your lines.

Good work.

Tony Single said...

I relate to this quite strongly. And unfortunately, plagues take many insidious forms. And often there is very little that ordinary folks can do about it.

I have been a witness to another kind of plague in modern times... that quiet sense of depression and desperation that too many of my friends and family go through day after day after day. I have suffered from this too.

A lot of times it seems all we can do is to keep going until circumstance finally manages to stop us in our tracks completely. :(

Caribbean Fool said...

First, lovely meter in your poem. the sing/song quality is excellent and underlies your theme perfectly. Second, been reading through your Unemployment Poems. As someone who has been unemployed since approx Oct. 2008, I can sympathize completely. The bill collectors, empty fridge, and loss of hope are killers. Keep your head up; and your wallet hidden. We have Helicopter Ben over here, don't y'all still answer to Trichet? Guess B & T answer to the money-men as well.

Wanna feel better? Read the poetry that came out of the great depression. That was the last time poets were needed this badly. Yes, life can suck, but poetry can serve such a much greater role in times of tragedy. It is of cold comfort I assume, but cold is better than no comfort at all. Best of luck, thanks for the poem,


Mama Zen said...

Fantastic write!

Cassiopeia Rises said...

Oh Pete, you really know how to write a spin tingling poem. It reads like a derge. So dark and so very wonderful. Just love it.

PS. Hope you found a job.


Beachanny said...

You find such powerful ways to express the things the rest of us want to hide from, and you do it with such seeming ease and naturalness. I'm always left awestruck. I read the other comments and I guess we all want to lead you to reading things that you may have no interest in nor time for; having said that thought I'd give you a link to the 9 years of Pepys diary which I read last year. He covers the period of this poem as he records in the years 1660-69 the Great Fire and the plague among other great stuff:

TALON said...

I thought immediately of the Great Plague before I read your comments, Pete, and the tie-in between the past and the present is so heartbreaking and so real and feels hopeless.

heartspell said...

That this poem must be written is so sad... but well said, my friend. I wish you hope and that you can somehow hang on to your dreams until the dark skies pass you by... God bless you and your family with love, strength and peace. Heartspell

Caty said...

This poem was beautifully written. So sad, but not something easily ignored when you feel like you're in the midst of a plague at this moment. i'll be praying for you and your family!

william said...

I cam over to red your poem mate lol, red? hehhe new word, anyway, we are not all perfect eh, certianly not me, great poem mate.

Donusho said...

i love how you summed up the plague in this poem... i wish this was written and read when i was at school - i thinkn it would have been alot more of an interesting learning experience and a way of connecting with History.

Pete Marshall said...

thanks everyone for some wonderful comments here and i appreciate your words of support...all the best pete

faery of the wilds said...

Dear Pete... the poem is true... Now we dont have plagues but financial crisis and never seem to get out of it... the rich become richer an the poor becomes poorer... Teufelskreis as we say in german, the devils circle... May be lord will have mercy or he is having mercy that we have atleast the health to live forward... Dont give up hope, theres always something good in something bad... Sunshine and cheers :D

Arts Web Show said...

i remember learning about this in school.
Your poem certainly captured the feel of how hard them times were.
Excellent poem