DAY 3551: MONDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2011.
Brenda Williams at the Pond Street Protest, against NHS cuts, which she started on September 4th 2001, without placards until April 27th 2007, when it began to have placards.
On September 17th 2008, 83 placards were seized. Brenda then spent 16 months writing "Forever Young".
On 5th February 2010, Brenda returned with placards. One week later, on February 12th 2010, 42 placards were stolen.
Brenda then spent nine months in Central London protesting NHS cuts involving the planned closure of Whittington Hospital A&E, which remained open after a public march.
The Pond Street Protest ended in October 2010, when Camden council yet again threatened to seize the placards.
Brenda is awaiting the result of a "Planning Appeal" Hearing which if granted will allow Brenda to protest in peace in Pond Street, Hampstead.
the pond street protest, with lots of information.
Professor Gertrude Falk & Brenda Williams.
To whom it may concern
As you walked down through Hampstead Green you left
A scene behind that brought to mind Hogarth’s
Gin Lane, you with your tanked-up swaggering
And your shored-up bottom of the bottle
Gait, sure and polar blue as the skies, your
Gaze. Did your eyes read them before you ripped
Them down? Gertrude, ‘In Memoriam’ how
Far did she get to you, as near as you
Would get to her, near enough to rip her
From the railings, leaving the fastenings,
The placards strewn underfoot in the Lane,
And a sheer and distant apprehension
That would never ever leave me again.
We thought you were catastrophically
Drunk, so high, you were veering on the edge
Of the sky, threatening to emblazon
The Green with the football regalia
And insignia of your team, asking
All the while, insisting on an answer,
And that the God-given right to protest
Was a personal affront to himself,
And to the ordinary decency
Of the honest working man in the street
Or anyone left in the Lane to meet,
Where poetry and free speech were in vain,
Where Gertrude would never be seen again.
Within moments of entering the Lane
You walked away from your own inferno
And the only thing I could remember
After were your eyes of Aryan blue
Empty and impenetrable before
Me and yet faint and unseeing,
Locked fast against an evening’s lowering
May light recoiling suddenly away
From you, as though sucked in then and there to
A tsunami’s waiting receding tide.
So young, your words were quaintly old-fashioned,
The placards in the Lane ‘a carbuncle’
And an affront to the environment,
To all who live to work, his argument.
This side of time, for the unwarranted
And intrusive tampering with the dead,
There is a price on the head of those who
Fall most foul, that is uncollectable,
For your clicking little Nazi-licking
Life, the unredeemable sacrifice
Of your soul, whether you end or begin,
A primal clockwork man, tanked up on gin.
This side of life, in the din, the nearest
I ever got to a Nazi was him,
Bandy-legged with the cock-of-the-walk stride
Of the recalcitrant habitual
Criminal as you turn about and square
Up to God or man or anything else
On either side as you pass on your way
Furtive, uneasy in the dark of May.
The very cauldron of a volcano,
Mouthed in hell, atomic in night shadow,
A use of language nothing can assuage,
‘To work’, ‘to live’, the mantra of an age.
After so long I can no more renege
On the protest than I can walk away
From poetry or the torn and worn strands
In the weft and woof of the bewildered
Heart and accustomed grown to the long drawn
Burden of loss that is both piecemeal and
Gratuitous and always beyond its
Own reach or horizon.
There is only
The spirit’s proof to pit against language
And industrial death on history’s page.
28th May 2010