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Unconditional Love
A poem that begs the question, as to why we continue to allow The Devil to win?
Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft

A Poem by Sel Whiteley

For all my Bristol friends, bravely keeping the battle going. I love you all and one day, we will triumph


Stokes Croft people layed their bicycles in the street,

played bongos, a trumpeter, climbed on top of the bus shelter,

protesters, camped outside the new Tesco,

offered free fruit, vegetables and cake to people passing-by

A peaceful protest until a warm, Easter weekend evening,

one hundred and sixty police arrested four men

barricaded on the roof of Telepathic Heights.

 which young squatters had covered in colourful graffiti.

And so, last week, Life came to imitate art.  Banksy’s “Mild, Mild West”

- a fluffy teddy bear aiming a molotov cocktail

at a group of riot police. Riots came. A street 

with police dogs,  police in full riot gear, some armed with guns.

Over the noise of screaming helicopters and smashing glass,

a lone saxophone player's thick, mournful rendition

of Gershwin's Summertime. People drinking

in The Social, The Pipe and Slippers, Telepathic Heights, 

Pubs kicking out. The crowd, drunk already, still angry

Residents woken-up. Masked agitators.

Hundreds, fleeing baton charges, tearing up cobblestones

flinging them at police.a police landrover, trashed.

Good Friday. Family business, Fred Baker Cycles, window smashed.

The Bristolian cafe's door ruined. Tesco's facade completely destroyed.

A barricade of bins and skips on fire, “Closing down sale”

daubed on the window in red paint. Bloodied heads.

The long, hot summer has come early to Bristol.




© 2011 Sel Whiteley

Author's Note

Sel Whiteley
Those acquainted with my work will know I detail oppression in Ireland. THis was one is about where I grew up in England. Whilst a very working-class neighbourhood, no-one predicted the police behaviour. "I've protested (and been arrested as a result) in quite a few countries, some of which are considered dictatorships and police states and I have never, ever seen such a monumentally disproportionate response by police anywhere else.

My Review

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You paint the picture very well, make the scene come alive for the reader. You also have a consistent structure to your work, which is nice. Keep up the good work! And Keep fighting for freedom!

Posted 12 Years Ago

Thank you so much for sharing this Sel. The way you present these events is truly amazing. You show us the realities in ways we would never see them when just listening to the news or the talking heads on television. Be safe and I wish peace to you and yours.

Posted 12 Years Ago


How do I even begin to review this? I have been in marches for equality before but luckily I have never had to face police brutality against the masses. I can't pretend that I know what it is like where you protested but I admire you for standing up for what you know to be true in this world. My country use to stand up and fight like this poem says, but we have become lazy in our technology and ease of life and we allow our government to use us as we have freedom of speech but we don't use it usually. Your poem makes me miss the passion we once had, the will put our life in danger for a belief or for truth or because of our convictions. Stay strong and keep writing.

Posted 12 Years Ago

and you do it really well. The keen eye for details and a keener heart for kindness is what shines out.As a person who has a visit to Ireland as one of the things in his bucket list your work stands out for me. I have been deeply affected by Ireland's tragic past and turbulent present. Few rival it. And your poems do justice to it.

Posted 12 Years Ago

fight the good fight, and send us pictures of others who fight the good fight, too . . .

Posted 12 Years Ago

It's not the Stokescroft y'mum painted. Bobbies with guns!?!! It's not the land I left either. Workin' class is all I've ever been strivin' for.
I too am outraged, as you can easily see.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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7 Reviews
Added on May 2, 2011
Last Updated on May 2, 2011


Sel Whiteley
Sel Whiteley

Toulouse, France

Peace activist and development worker more..