polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
The drums are drumming.
A reckoning is coming.
In the crèche the children play
with coloured beads.
One toddler tries out his words:
Here’s Red and Blue and Green.
His mother is spruced up
in black boots and white trousers,
hair piled high above a pallid face,
lines etched into her forehead.
I bring her coffee and cake;
it’s free for food bank users.
She’s waiting for her partner.
She doesn’t want to talk.
He’s out there fending for his family,
doing his best. He’s tracking down
that vital red voucher,
somewhere in this city.
Two plastic bags will hold
three days’ emergency rations.
We throw in some treats for the kids.
Vouchers and rations? What kind of war is this?
Lisa Rossetti was born in Devonport in 1950, and grew up in Cornwall but now lives in Chester. She is a community creative writing practitioner working with people in Recovery from drugs and alcohol, and those with mental health issues. Lisa is a former board director with Lapidus International, promoting words for wellbeing. Her poems have been published in online poetry blogs including Blaze, Mad Rabbit, Brevis, and I Am Not a Silent Poet, and in Write on the Farm (Harestones Press). She has written for Lapidus Journal, the Journal for Applied Arts & Health, and Mslexia. Her poems have been selected for open mic performance at the Women of the World (WOW) festival in April 2018. She volunteers for Soul Kitchen - an action group feeding the homeless, is a member of 'Outside In' - a local provider network addressing homelessness in Chester, and a story researcher for West Cheshire Foodbanks. She is also a co-founder of a local Momentum group.
Jervis Street is steep, its terrace houses wary,
remnants of cobbles and gentility.
That neglected patch of weeds
was once a village green.
Now soiled nappies spill from bins.
Nobody’s door bells work.
Guard dogs fling themselves at letter boxes,
barking like it’s Colditz inside.
A youth with earrings gives you the finger,
laughing out of his grimy window.
An old man shouts “Go Away”
from an upstairs bedroom.
I catch a glimpse of a far away horizon,
as a watery sun paints forgotten Hope
onto the green hills.
(For the Many)
I watched as folk flocked
in their thousands,
filling the streets
of Durham's fair city.
I watched as they lifted high
their history, bright banners
flying in the sun, honouring
those who went before.
When we are amazed,
when our common feelings
bind us together,
we hold up our arms.
They pour into the sunlit field.
A powerful surge of hope,
for all those yet to come,
lights up their faces.