Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

History

Pages from (or about) the past, including:

Women in history

 

Twenty-One

Submitted by Janine on 27 August 2015 at 12:26

A reflection on my son visiting the Stonewall Inn because of his passionate commitment to LGBT equality, only to find that he couldn't go in.

I remember the age of consent
cut from twenty-one
A landmark among the battles
our struggles have won
And now it's the age of admission
the Stonewall Insists

Become Not Women

Submitted by Admin on 16 August 2015 at 15:32

In 1848, in response to the 300-strong Convention for Woman's Rights in Seneca Falls (USA) and its Declaration of Sentiments, a Philadelphia newspaper urged the city's ladies not to join the new movement and become women but to stay as "wives, belles, virgins and mothers". Here's my poetic response:

Heroes and Hordes

Submitted by Janine on 31 July 2015 at 10:47

If Nicholas Winton were saving the children today
His Transport of Kindness would camp out in fear at Calais
Compassion is easier cast back through history's mist
Abhorrence for migrants but Oscars for Schindler's List

No humans may cross here, this tunnel is only for freight
Hurrah for the Blackshirts and see off the swarms at the gate
They've kind words for history, now for the iron-clad fist
Coldness for Calais and Oscars for Schindler's List

The lords of the fortress will draw bloody lines in the sand
Armed guard at the border instead of the helping hand
They'll trample the memory of saviours whose statues they've kissed 
With borders of barbed wire and Oscars for Schindler's List

Gallipoli

Submitted by Janine on 25 April 2015 at 16:42

Written on the centenary of the start of the appalling slaughter that was the Gallipoli campaign in World War One:

Rank corpses carpeted Gallipoli
At Russell's Top, Lone Pine and Suvla Bay 
By bullet, bayonet or dysentery
Eight months of folly fighting lives away
Young Albert Booth got out of there alive
From hell to hell, from Dardanelles to trench
No others from his landing craft survived
But joined the dead, the ANZACs, Turks and French 
One hundred thousand gone from those sad nations
And all for what? A great futility
Did lives not figure in the calculations 
Of Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty?
- Excuse me if I don't take out a sub
- To Winston Churchill's great admirers' club

B104-82

Submitted by Janine on 17 January 2015 at 09:02

When an officer was killed in World War One, the British Army told his next of kin by telegram. Lower-ranked men’s deaths were reported on Form B104-82. ‘Calamity’ is a poem by E.H. Visiak. Private Ted was my great uncle.

 

Visiak’s Calamity once said
From heart to heart grief’s wireless sped
No officer, this Hoxton lad
No telegram to mum and dad
Grief’s letters only slowly plod
Five weeks through Flanders’ shell-churned sod
’Til death’s cold-morning cockerel crowed
Outside a house on Edgware Road
Five weeks false hope for Private Ted
At last they learned their son was dead