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May 21, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

Lizzie’s Van (the nearest you’ll ever see me get to a royalist poem)

This story came across my tumblr dashboard this morning and I found it ridiculously moving. Particularly the image of a young, happy Princess Elizabeth working as a mechanic in the war. It’s possibly the only picture I’ve ever seen of her looking truly happy with herself. I fervently hope the story about her and King Abdullah is true.

Queen Elizabeth gave Saudi Arabia’s King a Lesson in Power.

The following poem just fought its way out of me.

Lizzie’s Van

She felt quite sorry for the other girls

Who loved their working life: after the war.

Their husbands and their dads would send them back

Into the kitchen. Nobody would dare

Do that to Lizzie: Lizzie had a trade

The family business. Nobody could say

A woman couldn’t do it. She’d be fine.

Imagine telling Lizzie what to do!

Who’d have the gall?
When Lizzie took the wheel, those country roads

Would hardly know what hit them. Even Rose

And Enid (such great chums!) were not as deft.

And for the first time, Lizzie earned respect

That martinet Miss Andrews had to own

That Lizzie wasn’t just a pretty face.

She pulled her weight, the same as all the rest

Though Joan and Mabel swore she’d be too soft

She showed them all.
But then, when peace came, war broke out anew

Because the women would not gently go

Back to their kitchens. Rose and Enid had

Their hair cropped short, and ran a pub together

Miss Andrews told her fiance that if 

She’d trained and managed twenty rowdy girls

She’d run his garage, never mind the stares!

Mabel and Joan both went and got degrees.

And Liz went home.
Oh yes, she had a trade. A job for life

But somehow, now she’d earned an honest wage

And come home tired and aching, full of pride

The job she’d had mapped out for her since birth 

Did not seem quite such fun as she’d imagined

Imagine telling Lizzie what to do!

The girls had said. Now every single day

She waves and follows protocol. Can’t call

Her soul her own.
But when she’s given time, she takes her van

(they let her have a van) and she pretends

She’s got vital deliveries to make

And that the secret service, on their bikes 

Aren’t there for her. Aren’t watching every move.

She tears along the winding country roads

Of her estate. Is Lizzie once again.

 Thinking of Rose and Enid, Joan and Mabel

And not her crown.
The Queen receives a visit from a monarch

Who won’t let women in his country drive.

She thinks about the freedom she once tasted

Suggests a little tour of the estate

And climbs into the driver’s seat. The king

White knuckled, frantic, begs her: not so fast!

(Imagine telling Lizzie what to do!)

She sizes up the rain-lashed road and grins;

Puts her foot down.

May 17, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

Perspective

I was at an event for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia today. One of the speeches particularly inspired me but not in the way it was supposed to. For the record, all prejudice is prejudice.   (Edit: the formatting is being a pain in the arse so I’ve divided the stanzas with bullet points)

“No. “Homophobia”‘s too strong,” you said.

“When, somewhere that I cannot quite pronounce,
The likes of you and me can end up dead.

“We should not whine and grumble every time
They laugh behind their hands. We should not mind
The jibes, the threats; it’s hardly violent crime.

“And if a kid comes out, and gets some stick
At school, he should be grateful that he can
Come out. Not like in (where was it? Iran?)

“We’ve never had it quite as good as this
You said. “We should not use these hateful words
Like “homophobia”: it takes the piss.”

I said “Give me your hand. Don’t mind the knife
I only want to cut your finger off
Somewhere you can’t pronounce, you’d lose your life.

“So smile. Laugh at my jokes, and don’t complain 
I’m only taking off a little bit.
It could be worse, therefore, this can’t be pain.”
May 10, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

A Poem For The Hallam Constituency

So, Nick Clegg kept his seat, and then resigned. I’ve tried to sum up the mood in Sheffield about the whole thing. 
We knew you’d be as safe as massive houses.

We knew you’d keep your cushy little seat

Although when you’re in town, you shit your trousers

At all the angry sheffielders you meet
That voting surge in Hallam that would save you
Was no Lib Dem Renaissance, just too late
But Tories voting tactically for Dave, who
All hate you Nick, your win was based on hate.
You’re hated by the ones who left your party,
Who’d thought that choosing you was what was right,
The young, the academic and the arty:
The students you betrayed without a fight.
You’re hated by the Left, that you divided
And shafted with this vile collaboration
By now, Nick, you are pretty much derided
By everyone in this benighted nation.
But we knew you’d be as safe as massive houses
Although we fought so hard to kick you out:
A whey-faced little whipping boy who now ways
That compromise is what it’s all about,
That history will judge you kindly, later,
Above this darkest hour you will rise.
No.
They’ll write you down a spineless little traitor
Whom those who voted for him most despised.
May 10, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

Tory Majority: A poem.

the morning of the election result I happened to have to go to a meeting in a very safe Tory area. This is a poem about my feelings that day, and now.

I’m walking the streets 

Of safe Tory seats

It was you.
And you.
And you.
With a satisfied grin
You have voted them in.
It’s true.
It’s true.
It’s true.
From trendy young girls
To twinset-and-pearls:
I knew.
I knew.
I knew.
You’d think of yourself
And protecting your wealth
It’s what
You always
Do.
I looked to the press
Expecting no less
Than lies
And lies
And lies
And I’m wondering how
We haven’t somehow
Got wise.
Got wise.
Got wise.
Each time there’s the choice
Of a kinda-left voice
Who tries
And tries
And tries
The press shaft them again:
The whole bloody campaign
Just dies.
It dies.
It dies.
We won’t all survive
The upcoming five:
It’s true,
It’s true, 
It’s true,
That the weakest will die
And you won’t even cry:
You knew.
You knew.
You knew.
Though I’d rather forget
That that’s what we let 
You do
You do
You do,
With each upcoming death,
I’ll say, under my breath:
It was you.
And you.
And you.
April 12, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

Equality

I’d like to fight

For equal rights,
But that still seems
A distant dream.
Respect? Fair pay?
Perhaps, one day.
For now we strive
To just survive. 
March 28, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

http://m.thestar.co.uk/news/we-still-need-shoppers-much-loved-sheffield-store-hit-by-development-plans-1-717534

A little anti gentrification poem in solidarity with Rare and Racy and their neighbours. Please, if you live in Sheffield, buy something from Rare and Racy. It’s an amazing place and they need the love right now.

Keep Sheffield rare and racy

Keep it quirky and unique

Paint all the walls with street art

Let the bricks and mortar speak

Keep Sheffield loved and local

Keep its history alive

Shop at independent businesses

And make sure they all thrive.

Keep Sheffield’s nooks and crannies

Where the weirdo artists play 

Keep Sheffield City Council

From signing them away

 

Keep fighting hard for Sheffield

Don’t let it be denied

Keep Sheffield for the people

Not bloody gentrified

 

Keep Sheffield rare and racy

Cause if we can’t do that,

Get used to faceless chain stores 

And a thousand empty flats

February 23, 2015 / Sarah Thomasin

∞ (a mathematical love poem)

Infinity…
It isn’t what you think.
It’s not the “ah! plus one!”
You tack triumphant on a string of of zeros
To prove a point:
That we can never look at it up close it
Infinity…
Is always in the distance

So much of mathematics
Seems like that
“We know this number’s real in theory
Because its absence always leaves a shape
Of what it might be. One day we’ll have proof.
But not today.
Infinity…
Is very far away
But we can see
A distant shadow
Stretching out ahead.

It’s not like that.

Infinity is what’s between the numbers.
That familiar space
Where most of us don’t often think to look
Was never space at all
But everything.

Infinity is what makes one, and one
Connect, becoming two.

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