my life as a sketchbook

I have hidden in a sketchbook and a journal all my life. Time to open the books, reframe the story & time. Copyright Cinders McLeod. All rights reserved
Jumping back to an earlier entry, posted at the time of occupy wall street. Reposting because i was inspired by Chris Hedges speak on TVO of his graphic novel with Joe Sacco, ‘Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt’ - drawing America’s invisible poor sacrifice zones & Occupy. Inspired too by my fortnight history hunt of my post clearance family (Kirsty and Murdo MacLeod, pictured here):

Jumping ahead 6 years to London 1990, to Thatcher’s Britain and the Poll Tax protests … Jumping ahead to Autumn, 2011 … The Poll Tax was a desperately unfair tax on the British 99%. I was on the protest march that ended in Trafalgar Square, now known as the Battle of Trafalgar. At the same time I was reading John Prebble’s book on the Highland Clearances. This was a part of my past as the crofter McLeods were brutally cleared from the Highlands of Scotland, in exchange for the more financially profitable sheep. I made a leap of history, a connection, to what I was experiencing now in London to what my fore family experienced in the mass evacuations from their homes in Scotland one hundred, two hundred years earlier. And so, I wrote this song entitled with the rally cry from the Poll Tax rallies, ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay.’ The song was an attempt to chart the process of the Laird’s responsibility to their lack of responsibility of a clan, or the template of the dispossession of a peoples… I am moved tonight to jump ahead to 2011 to make the connections once again …


can’t pay, won’t pay
by cinders mcleod

the year of the betrayal
the greedy had a plan
to disarm and dispossess us
to steal our common land

so they said they we were burdens
on the land and on the state
poor cuz they wouldn’t pay us
lazy cuz we wouldn’t slave

the bairds cried out take care
for their law has reached our land
locke’s law of liassez-faire
we supply and they demand

can’t pay
won’t pay

the year of the clearings
women defend homeland
bang rubbish cans blow gypsy whistles
burn writs in evictor’s hands
the year of the burnings
whose house are they burning now?
smoked out one by one clan set against clan
not the takers of the land

can’t pay
won’t pay

the year were were replaced by sheep
shepherds guarded, staves in hand
a slave trade was ready made to sail
to work another stolen land

cleared burnt and taxed
for improvements we’d never taste
what they call progress we know as
the destruction of a race

the year of the hard winter
they drove us undergrown
digging for food beneath the snow
we sang with our heads down

can’t pay
won’t pay

the year of the riots
our aprons full of stones
black bonnets of defiance
flags flying our our towns

can’t pay
won’t pay

they say we’re breaking the law
we say the law’s breaking our backs
and we’ll only obey the law of the land
not the law of trespass and tax

can’t pay
won’t pay

we’ve seen enough to lose heart
but our hearts are fierce and strong
and never will we ask
at what hour must we be gone

Jumping back to an earlier entry, posted at the time of occupy wall street. Reposting because i was inspired by Chris Hedges speak on TVO of his graphic novel with Joe Sacco, ‘Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt’ - drawing America’s invisible poor sacrifice zones & Occupy. Inspired too by my fortnight history hunt of my post clearance family (Kirsty and Murdo MacLeod, pictured here):

Jumping ahead 6 years to London 1990, to Thatcher’s Britain and the Poll Tax protests … Jumping ahead to Autumn, 2011 … The Poll Tax was a desperately unfair tax on the British 99%. I was on the protest march that ended in Trafalgar Square, now known as the Battle of Trafalgar. At the same time I was reading John Prebble’s book on the Highland Clearances. This was a part of my past as the crofter McLeods were brutally cleared from the Highlands of Scotland, in exchange for the more financially profitable sheep. I made a leap of history, a connection, to what I was experiencing now in London to what my fore family experienced in the mass evacuations from their homes in Scotland one hundred, two hundred years earlier. And so, I wrote this song entitled with the rally cry from the Poll Tax rallies, ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay.’ The song was an attempt to chart the process of the Laird’s responsibility to their lack of responsibility of a clan, or the template of the dispossession of a peoples… I am moved tonight to jump ahead to 2011 to make the connections once again …

can’t pay, won’t pay

by cinders mcleod

the year of the betrayal

the greedy had a plan

to disarm and dispossess us

to steal our common land

so they said they we were burdens

on the land and on the state

poor cuz they wouldn’t pay us

lazy cuz we wouldn’t slave

the bairds cried out take care

for their law has reached our land

locke’s law of liassez-faire

we supply and they demand

can’t pay

won’t pay

the year of the clearings

women defend homeland

bang rubbish cans blow gypsy whistles

burn writs in evictor’s hands

the year of the burnings

whose house are they burning now?

smoked out one by one clan set against clan

not the takers of the land

can’t pay

won’t pay

the year were were replaced by sheep

shepherds guarded, staves in hand

a slave trade was ready made to sail

to work another stolen land

cleared burnt and taxed

for improvements we’d never taste

what they call progress we know as

the destruction of a race

the year of the hard winter

they drove us undergrown

digging for food beneath the snow

we sang with our heads down

can’t pay

won’t pay

the year of the riots

our aprons full of stones

black bonnets of defiance

flags flying our our towns

can’t pay

won’t pay

they say we’re breaking the law

we say the law’s breaking our backs

and we’ll only obey the law of the land

not the law of trespass and tax

can’t pay

won’t pay

we’ve seen enough to lose heart

but our hearts are fierce and strong

and never will we ask

at what hour must we be gone

  1. cindersmcleod posted this