Black Trade

This is a piece that I wrote specifically for Emancipation Day on 1st August. I performed it at an event here in the UK, a celebration and appreciation of the slave ancestors who were part of the human trade from Africa to the Caribbean and United States in the 18th century, transporting around 6 million or so human lives to suffrage and slavery.

Clubbed, chained and hauled from the sand of their equatorial bliss
Warriors, kings and armies by the thousand, pinned in ships holds swilling with piss
Woken by the whip, still chained to the dead and the dying
This is how My ancestors stole Your ancestors, to the fields of blood and forced complying

Inhuman disgrace flogged into the backs of any with even a thought of resentment
Leaving broad, tallow healed scars, baring silent witness to the pain of forced containment
Loved ones compelled to watch the jewelled flail flying high and long
A graphic, bloodied reminder of what happens, should they fail to sing the right song

Black meat bred like horses for the satisfaction of the rich and the ridiculous
Sanctioned black on black matting to mould muscular stallions, oiled for their vividness
While young, barely ripe womanhood was stolen for their unready availability
Resulting in innocent black white halflings, sadly belonging to no one, especially their often, parental nobility

Eventually, on paper at least it all ended but how many dropped the whip-hand, who could really know?
Decades of lip-service kept politicians in the clear, but in the fields, brutality flogged on, full flow
Verbose apologies ringing as hollow as the broken transatlantic triangle of their trade
Even the giving of land and a living, couldn’t heal the skin stripped horrors, which the masters had made

Those who escaped and survived, still had to bear and hide the scars, but couldn’t disguise….
The stigma of a colour that even now, struggles to safely harmonise….
As centuries on, that stigma, more like stigmata, won’t wash the slate clean simply by changing the rules
Those who unseeingly think it so, they’re really, the colour-blinded fools

So, let us celebrate the ancestors, here, in the bright light of truth and reconciliation
But continue the daily fight for a better form of justice, and a balance in our general, more humane consideration.


© David Rollason
July 2018

Terracotta Wonders

After a visit to the exhibition of Terracotta Warriors at the world Museum in Liverpool, I was inspired to first write a blog and now here is a poem also driven by that visit.


Terracotta ghosts of first Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Speak nothing of their journey via air sea and land
To the farthest of shores
Where behind closed glass doors
They stand silently and wait
For their keepers to open the gate

In darkened halls
Elaborate hangings decorate the walls
And well worded panels try to explain
But there is information overload which floods your brain
With the sheer scale and the excess
It’s hard to countenance or adequately express

Artefacts, safe behind glass, glint, and shine
Inanimate and lonely unlike the viewers standing in line
But the displays keep your interest
All the pieces you had only seen on Pinterest
While the atmosphere starts to heighten
Although the lighting fails the brighten

It’s hard to understand some of the things you have just read
700,000 prisoners used to build yet another place for the dead
Millions in total were entombed for their master
Not all of them killed first, but in their time, no disaster
But it’s not this information that makes the crowds begin to simmer
And past the heads pressing on, you get the first glimmer

They are only seven but there they are standing tall in their row
Imposing, proud, you initially think, wow
But backed by projected images of their home in far Xi’an
Actually, they look quite fragile and sadly rather wan
I stand and admire, knowing it’s what is expected
But somehow inside, I feel rather deflated

They are admittedly impressive but undoubtedly sad
In front, a small child wants to be lifted by his dad
He is obviously less than impressed
And would rather tug at his Pepper Pig vest
Then knocks hard on his poor dad’s head
And they move on, with nothing more to be said

More interesting things take you away
And the end is in sight, but some want to stay
To see many small figures, coins and gold jiggers,
Along with bronze bowls and elaborate steamers
Left by subsequent dynasties
With their equal excess and brutal ministries

Round one last darkened corner
Brings you to a three D, animated diorama
Where you stare for the two minutes that it shows
And then you’re done, and the lighting thankfully grows
Into the inevitable gift shop that glitters with offers
All manner of goods meant to empty the coffers

But you resist most of the glitz neatly on show
Looking maybe twice at the 1500-pound life-size statue
It was the only thing you might actually like
But for postcards you pay the smiling assistant, Mike
Yes, it’s been an experience even if a little barbed
But you feel rather sorry that, they had to be disturbed

© David Rollason April 2018


More pictures HERE

New …..

New year’s
New ideas
New initiative
New imperative

New lengthening days
New electronic ways
New layers of complexity
New views on the unnecessary

New fake news
New unseen danger
New even more, the murderous stranger

New medical wonders
New political blunders
New personal losses
New harrowing faces

New contracts to consider
New reasons to be bitter
New lies from the bosses
New tightening your belts

But somehow

New longer day light
New unwillingness to fight
New environmental eyes
New children’s smiles

New glimmers of hope
New gadget’s to help us cope
New ways to laugh
New friends down the cafe

New resolutions done
New sunshine to come
New spring days ‘round the corner
New dreams that come true to make your heart warmer

Wishing A Happy New Year to you all !!

© David Rollason January 2018

Observations, post Christmas

Christmas – done

Well, Christmas is done
It might show on your tum
If you’re really unfortunate
Sneak round to your bum

The turkey is curried
Cold sprouts for the birds
There’s a limit to the times
Hot sauce makes it less worse

The tinsel’s less shiny
Baubles fall from the tree, more easily
The Christmas cards are curling
‘Cus the heating’s still turned on full

The once green tree, now brown at the edges,
No, let’s be honest it’s actually dead
and is soon to be dragged round the back of
the greenhouse, or maybe the old garden shed

Unseen and unloved and unfed here
It will languish, all lost and alone
With last years, as each year, you do mean
To try and recycle but again, No

The days are getting that little bit longer
‘Though the sun’s not really very much stronger
hopefully the snow, will stay, well away
But you take it only, day.. by day…. by day

Aunt Maisy wrote you a thank you
For the present you bought with such clarity
But you get the distinct inkling that
It might have been passed on to charity

With the loft now fully restocked
Everything quickly, but cleverly boxed
In pne of them, but you forget which
A voucher for a course of guess what, Botox!

The revenge buying from dear aunty Maisy
But you keep it as it might come in, some day
For a raffle or someone more needy
Or maybe, next year’s last-minute present, emergency.

Then suddenly it’s all done,
Twelfth Night’s knocking at the door
And you happily welcome him In
To help sweep up the needles from the floor
And polish away the dust
Now the mantle is clear
And wonder what will replace
Those echoes of spent festive cheer

But, don’t worry Too much only 354 days (or so) till it ALL happens again,

Yes, This Year!

© David Rollason January 2018

The Cross

This is a piece I have written, originally for the christian festival of Good Friday.
I hope you enjoy the piece and the recording, even if it is not of your faith.

croos6 Click on the image to listen

The Cross

Rough hewn, now old and battered wood lies blood soaked and splintered,
punctured with holes and stained rotting sinew all foul stinking and sintered.
Thrown to the ground after being dragged stuttering up the final hill…
now a scourged arm is stretched, full length, a soldier’s grip holds it still.

The crowd simmers for the hammer that’s lifted for only the first of the cruel blows,
their cries ring out in cold, misplaced, blood lusted thirst, while the carrion crows…
watch square forged nails, their mangled tips glint, being once more sharpened,
but when that first blow is struck, the mood changes, now more real, more hard, more darkened.

No cry from the victim of this harsh, homicidal, capital, attack,
but his hand clenches, eyes roll and an arch rises along his back.
The nail drives through his fine skin, into bone right and down to the wood,
what worse fate can human lay on human, who honesty ever could…
imagine worse, but then the second arm is pinned and last, the dirt dusted feet….
crossed to receive pain while soldiers ranks sound a tattoo on their shields, a steady, steady beat.

Then it stops….. but still no victim’s word as the cross is hoisted up on high,
the only sound now from a mother, but only then a small and muffled cry…
for her son who had not been given long in this savage, unremitting world,
she could only watch as the pain showed now, through his fingers as they curled.

As if it wasn’t enough to contend with, during this vile humiliation,
one warder, feeling guilty, takes a small sponge soaked in a libation,
obnoxious and crude, the guilt’s compounded as he offers it up with a snigger,
spiced unkindly with molding sourness, in the form of rancid, acrid vinegar.

With the victim’s weight overcoming what little strength he might have left,
comes the first cry, not pain but pleading, it would leave him hanging, bereft,
‘Why forsake me my father’, comes the cold, heart wrenching exhortation,
‘Forgiveness for all men, please’, a last wish for our lives, his final act before total decimation.

Thunder cracks, his crowned head falls, thorn pricked bleeding now stopped,
lightening spears from the heavens and to the ground, the fearful onlookers dropped.
Dressed in her blue, a mother pleads for the shattered body of her boy,
not even with this travesty heaped upon her, could her love for him destroy.

The crowd wails loud, rent their cloths, shed cold tears but while accusations fly,
from the rank steps a lone soldier who claims, from this shameful act, he’s now their converted ally.
With the body borne away, laying empty, that simple, blooded, anonymous wooden cross…
just like our wider world, does not appreciate the consequence of its part in humanities cruel loss?


© David Rollason  2017


The Spirit of O

This poem woke me up one morning and needed to be written down. It is just part a step forward in personal growth that I have been studying. It features what seems to be my spirit animal, can you work out which that is?

Moon bright eyes that
hold the wisdom of the ages
from the bottomless depth
of countless generations
passed on by means unseen
to watch and protect and heal
those that pass through its scope
of super visionary care

Sitting patiently through the twilight hours with
20-20, 360°, 1000 generation, universal understanding,
the least ripple or disturbance prompts
the silent swoop of evolutionary wings
that bring knife like talons to
pluck out with surgical precision
the scurrying destructive verminous pains
of some disordered life, one piece at a time

Disorder is not taken completely,
a reminder is left parcelled up in a pellet
just the bare bones of the problem
as a warning to think on for the future,
so breath and dream higher
absorb the constellation of those Moon bright eyes
that hold the wisdom of the ages
this is, the spirit of O

© David Rollason
April 2017

The power of sorrow

After a loss, we look for ways to cope, to grieve, to consolidate and continue. This I write after the loss of my mother.

Words type easy

Sentiment flows swiftly

But when the two collide?

Heartache and longing.

So, you write the former

Dip your toe in the latter

Try to avoid the stabbing hurt in the sucking morass of your loss

Will time soften?

You hope at least

That words you’ve offered oh so many times

Will ring true



For you.