tower of righteousness by Caroline Gilfillan

for verily we have built of ourselves
under the serpent-coil of nelson’s rope
a tower of righteousness   rickety and movable
composed of elbow hollows   tank tops
dandy shirt collars   rolled up sleeves
fuzz of our sideburns   shine of our knuckles
and verily we move like an automaton
worked by a deity squashed inside a box
and have arranged ourselves
into a revolutionary brigade   but bearing placards
instead of flags swish-handsome as horses’ tails
and verily the placards have no give in them
but are made of straight lines and capitals and are nailed to wood
and though our fringes are apple-scented
and our trousers Bolan-flared   our hearts
are acid drops you wouldn’t want to suck

Photograph copyright Andrew Scott

Anti abortion demo, Trafalgar Sq, summer 1975, © Andrew Scott, 006

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