A modern setting and retelling of Tennyson’s, Charge of the Light Brigade.

Listen to a recording of the poem.

27 January, 2018

Mine Original
A couple of miles, a couple of miles, HALF a league, half a league,
A couple of miles onward, Half a league onward,
All in the field at Orgreave All in the valley of Death
Strode the eight thousand five hundred. Rode the six hundred.
‘Stand strong, stop those lorries!’ ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Delivering coal from the quarries: Charge for the guns!’ he said:
Into the field at Orgreave Into the valley of Death
Strode the eight thousand five hundred.  Rode the six hundred.
   
‘Stand strong, stop those lorries!’ ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a resolve weakened? Was there a man dismay’d?
Even when the miners knew Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone who’d been beaten: Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs was to not comply, Their’s not to make reply,
Theirs was to reason why, Their’s not to reason why,
Where forth the State’s war cry? Their’s but to do and die:
Into the field at Orgreave Into the valley of Death
Strode the eight thousand five hundred. Rode the six hundred.
   
Baton to the right of them, Cannon to right of them,
Baton to the left of them, Cannon to left of them,
Baton in front of them Cannon in front of them
Battered and bloodied; Volley’d and thunder’d;
Stormed at by short shields as well, Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they strode and fell, Boldly they rode and well,
Into the cordon trapped, Into the jaws of Death,
State sounding the Death Knell Into the mouth of Hell
Strode the eight thousand five hundred. Rode the six hundred.
   
Drew all their batons bare, Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Cries rang out through the air Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Baton charge the pickets there, Sabring the gunners there,
Charging the miners, while Charging an army, while
The British Public wondered: All the world wonder’d:
Bludgeoned without provoke Plunged in the battery-smoke
The livelihoods of thousands broke; Right thro’ the line they broke;
Yorkshire and Lancs men Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the baton stroke Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shattered and bloodied. Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they strode back, but not Then they rode back, but not
Not the eight thousand five hundred.  Not the six hundred.
   
Baton to the right of them, Cannon to right of them,
Baton to the left of them, Cannon to left of them,
Baton behind them Cannon behind them
Battered and bloodied; Volley’d and thunder’d;
Stormed at by short shields as well, Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While all about them heroes fell, While horse and hero fell,
Those that had withstood hell They that had fought so well
Came through the cordon trapped, Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the State Death Knell, Back from the mouth of Hell,
The few that was left of them, All that was left of them,
Left of eight thousand five hundred. Left of six hundred.
   
When will the truth be known? When can their glory fade?
Oh the wild charges done! O the wild charge they made!
The British Public wondered: All the world wonder’d.
Why on earth the State Stampede? Honour the charge they made!
Honour those at Orgreave, Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble eight thousand five hundred! Noble six hundred!

 

Creative Commons License
The Battle of Orgreave by Steven Huckle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://glowkeeper.github.io/assets/poetry/Orgreave/.