An intrinsic part of me
is the defiance of centuries past
creating tracks from the tears…..
Tears nourishing roots
Washing away the years of pain –
eroding the countryside
Like acid on the urban plane
Burning with equal pride and shame –
at standing up for what is right.
Pain and suffering
is a state of mind – or so THEY tell you…
The blood of ancestors rebellion
runs through my veins.
The cold, withering stare of the Herr Administrator
who delights in saying
No to money
No to dignity
No to choice…
you will not beat us they say
As they washed one more load of soiled laundry
Wiped one more red and brown backside
Suppressed but not oppressed
Resilient and self-reliant
She scrubbed the steps until they shined
were limited at best
Always do your best
Be proud of who and what you are
Accept your situation
with humour, warmth and grace.
In the days before every family had a car.
When women had no autonomy over their own bodies
and men ruled with a dirty fist.
When if you couldn’t afford to call the doctor out
Hardly ever daring to cry,
you were bound
by the stiff upper lip THEY forced upon you.
The good old days?
When people knew their place.
Servants and masters,
upstairs and downtrodden
A state to which THEY would all too eagerly have us return!
I am the passive-aggressive. raging, roaring beast
The Child scared and scarred by the cruelty
of twisted nuns and priests
The ink-stains of a denied education –
oh how today’s parallels disgust!….
…..Me: grateful that I am not….
The powerless working class girl,
told in no uncertain terms,
that she WOULD be a Wife and Mother –
“because that’s just nature and what we women do.”
I am the labourer covered in blood, sweat and dust
I am the drunkard, consumed by foul lust
I am the woman once more with child
who carries on living
as she simply must.
Deprivation, disease and resentment is in my DNA
Social immobility and enforced poverty
are the buzzwords of the day.
But also in my heart there lies deep joy, humour, acceptance, freedom and romance.
Money cannot buy it all,
although it may strip you of opportunity and chance.
So thank you Grandparents,
Great Grandparents too…
that true happiness and love is for everyone regardless of society’s prison bars,
entrapping you by class and circumstance.