Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Dear Margaret

For Orgreave, the Beanfield, and Hillsborough.
For Operation Swamp 81.
For the miners, the unions,
the working class heroes,
the people whose skin you denied.
For the innocents turned into criminals.
For giving the Force a free rein.
to wield batons and tear gas and horses,
to weaken and batter them all.

For the families who died.
For the lies you allowed to be told
all this time, not giving an ounce
of the truth or of justice for this ‘96.
For the mass destruction of all our communities,
psyches and spirits and faith.

For my dad, ex-Services, thrown on the dole
fifteen times in as many long months.

For my mother, dug deeper in poor mental health;
the poverty making her sicker, and sadder,
and madder than she’d ever been.

For my brother, who lived without wages for years, burned out
on a pyre of your making.

For the youth of myself, for the public disgrace
of the free-dinner-queue, for the old cast-off shoes,
for none of the school trips or cookery lessons,
for shrinking grey socks, for the punches and kicks
that my mother let fly in her madness.
For the ice and the mould inside every window.
For the hunger, the shame, my family’s pain,
for the living we scraped hand to mouth.

For all the above, for all our lost years,
for all of the grief and the depths that we reached.
Dear Margaret
there’s no absolution,
no forgiveness, or pity or grief.
Your legacy lives in the fat of the rich.
May your soul never find any peace.

© Laura Taylor


Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for just over two years, and has finally found a space in which to air her grievances with Authority.
 

16 comments:

  1. Such a heartfelt and poignant poem, Laura. I both feel and recognise so much of what you say, indeed you stir memories I had even forgotten - the mould and the ice (though I never forgot the overall depression and sadness). Excellent.

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  2. Stunned into tears Laura. Xxx give this one lots of air time at poetry events. Jan.

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  3. Thank you Carolyn

    Thanks Jan - yes indeed, this will be performed several times over the next few months, starting this Saturday in Wigan

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  4. beautifully written, heartfelt and I thank you for writing these words so many of us feel but are unable to express! Thank you!

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  5. Every syllable overflowing with truth, beautifully observed. Thank you for sharing your work. The best writing is always fuelled by experience, especially poetry and you express that experience seemingly without hatred or anger just statement of fact which is all the more poingiant. thank you from another who endured her reign of terror and worked to try to make sure it never happened again, sadly I failed.

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  6. Thank you very much spacemum, and you too, 'Anonymous' - pretty much wrote itself this...been bubbling away in me for years.

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  7. That Margaret Thatcher was controversial is undeniable. She attracted vituperation from disgruntled people, as this poem clearly shows, but she also received approbation from other quarters, as the piece preceding this underlines.
    While respecting the author views I want to take issue with the last anonymous commentator who said: "you express that experience seemingly without hatred or anger just statement of fact". This is contradicted by the poem's last stanza which, in my mind,
    hardly represents a Christian attitude. Personally, I am cynical of politicians of any hue and have my say when the situation demands it but I would allow even my greatest foe the dignity of dying in peace .

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  8. "I would allow even my greatest foe the dignity of dying in peace."

    An attitude that does you credit, Luigi. Sadly I don't think Thatcher felt the same. Nor did many of her staunchest overseas friends; Pinochet wasn't renowned for his humanitarianism.

    Laura, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for your eloquence.

    (It's May K, btw x)

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  9. :) Aww, thanks May! Really appreciate that. And I couldn't have said it better, with regard to your second post here :)

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  10. If all this whymsical claptrap was true then it says something very nasty about the general population keep re-electing her 3 times doesn't it?
    Orgreave mine was a 100 years old it had had its day, things do wear out you know.
    Lets have a mournful poem about the miner who disobeyed his union and had a lump of concrete chucked through his windscreen,his widow and children were shown no compassion or 'society' they were treated as he was a 'scab'

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  11. That would be 'whimsical'. It is true - every word. That's my life - welcome to my world. It's too late for you to walk a mile in my shoes so I wrote it out instead.

    Nice display of ignorance there re Orgreave - you clearly don't have a clue what exactly I'm referring to. I'm not going to bother educating you either. Enjoy your ignorance - god forbid you lose your foot upon the rung.

    Why don't you write that poem eh? Go on, contribute a little, instead of bleating from the sidelines.

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  12. Whimsical certainly isn't a word I'd chose even though I can spell it.

    Yes Anonymous, there is something very nasty about the general population especially when the best selling 'newspaper' is the Sun, a rag so enamoured with the Thatcher government it was, and still is, rotten to the core. Had the unions not stood firm, one of the headlines above a doctored photo of Arthur Scargill would have read "Mine Fuhrer". Because of the popularity of such an abhorrent medium (along with others) so many people were taken in by that harridan and so yes she was voted in again and again.

    The miners bravely fought the legions of hell but thanks to the state apparatus they, along with mining communities, were broken and have remained that way to this day.

    May she rot in hell.

    Thank you for a wonderful poem Laura

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  13. Mines close all over the world through collapse,gas, floods and old age, the workers get up and do something else, just as people in typewriter factories did when the world no longer wanted typewriters. They didn't sit around for 30 years whining in self pity. At least the miners in the Thatcher years got some of the best redundancy terms ever given out to miners.
    Not Thatcher, YOU closed the mines, when your families boarded up the coal fire and switched on the central heating.

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  14. Laura, I would like to add my thanks for the opportunity to read this beautiful and most powerful poem and my appreciation of the fact that you offered it to Poetry 24. I do hope that you will continue to submit with us. I wish you peace. Abi

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  15. Thank you Abi - that means a lot to me. I feel honoured that you chose to not only publish it, but to publish it on that day of all days. To be able to make art out of that pain is a great feeling.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  16. I was at Bolton today when you recited this poem Laura.
    You said it for all of us.
    I could feel my dead father applauding in the background.
    Thanks- you're brilliant.

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