The Gordon Riots 1780

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Ekphrastic writing in prose about ‘The Gordon Riots 1780’ by John Seymour Lucas (seen above).  

On a tiny little screen in a darkened room I stare into the the blue-white glare. Ambivalent voices through the speakers as I enlarge the image and stare. ‘Trying times’, I guess you could say, we go through now as they did in the day. But where we have a plague, they have a fight, against those who deemed the lesser not right. Why, dear painter, have you put us on the side of those in red? The soldiers who cannot see the man, dirt covered hands in the air, up ahead. Why, dear soldier, did you agree to sign up against your fellow man for his majesty? Can you see the dead in their filth lie at your feet making your victory ever so bittersweet? You make them red like your hands are now, if only you could know how much blood has been bled by the crown. I see the smoke in the distance behind the crowd, matches the smoke of your guns which hover like thunderclouds. How loud must they be for the soldiers to silence? How many shots does it take to earn your sixpence? But maybe you are right to suppress them so, if a crowd is a crowd because they want their own prejudices to be bestowed. Maybe, dear painter, that is why you chose to paint us on the soldiers’ side?

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