The Spirit of Warren James..

(Back in 1808
by order of the state
began the enclosure
of this magical place
stripping the locals
of their livelihood
in the name of the navy
and its ship building wood..)

The crown had hit the poor
here some thirty years before
with their free market desires
they destroyed the Miner’s Law..
In came the industrialists
profiteering from the land
and the ancient rights of Foresters
did turn to cap in hand..

The fencing of the Dean
was supposed to have been
for no more than twenty years
so when no changes were seen
the locals petitioned
for their rights to be returned
but for three more long years
their survival pleas were spurned..

Then a man by the name
of Warren James
by 1831
had tired of their games..
Civility was futile
so he gave a call to arms
for the Free Miners to tear
those fences down..

And so it began
led by the passion of this man..
A hundred or more gathered
to take back their land..
Machen, the surveyor, mustered
half as many men..
They came, they saw, they couldn’t
beat the axe and left again..

For three more days
they ripped most of that fence away..
more than two thousand strong
when the military came..
armed with a warrant
to take James down..
so the Foresters dispersed
under the arms of the crown..

Warren James
now a pawn in their games
was at first sentanced to death
in a bid to stop the same
mob rule reoccuring..
how dare folks fight for their rights?!
Then the judge altered James’ fate
to transportation for life..

He survived the convict’s ride
while those around him died..
his life now in Van Diemen’s Land
but with home still on his side..
While he moved around the labour camps,
his spirit lashed and hardened
the Foresters, and even Machen
fought to get him pardoned..

While they won their fight
to give this man some light
the pardon didn’t come
with a free passage right..
It took seven months to reach him
and he never sent word home..
already in poor health
some five years on he died alone..

So here’s to Warren James
a scapegoat in their games
two hundred years on
and their agenda feels the same..
but the Forest spirit
is still unfaltering
and when they try to take what’s ours
may we win..for him..

xx

 

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