The clock is already counting down.
The steps of change tread soft upon the ground.
Beware their speed is not the worry,
their slowness signals danger, not their hurry.
The frog put in boiling water
will panic at the thought of slaughter
and jump away, not slump and stay.
Yet put in cold, it’s not so bold
as slowly death takes its final hold.
Complacent, we took for granted that by our long ago chanting
of “we shall overcome” that we overcame.
Naively we still claim
that the glass ceiling‘s been supplanted,
segregation laws recanted,
the right to vote permanently implanted,
in the very fabric of our domain.
Only in 55 did Rosa Parks make her stand
against the demand
she give up her seat to a standing white man.
In 58 a boycott of Bristol busses
put aside those racial cusses
and finally taught us
there is no difference between us.
But today upon the train I see them dare
to challenge Ruza Hadiqa’s right to wear.
No longer a silent mumbled stare, they loudly declare
their demand that she vacate their promised land,
although they were born to the same midwife’s hand.
Down on a summer beach patrol the French police
To astound us all as they impeach the removal of a piece
of cotton cloth.
Where for cometh this caprice*
as it seeks to personify
her in her neighbour’s eye
as the all-conquering Ostrogoth**.
Social media routinely fires wild stories across its wires
seeking to beseech
Some with tongue in cheek
Others with serious outreach
aiming to bequeath the future removal of the 19th.
Out from the dark web the internet trolls
Amass momentum on TV walls
The gathering of satyric*** forces
mustering up their wide resources
ploughing their own political courses
across our realm.
Now out in the limelight, just like a bullfight
up on the stage, like a bear in a cage,
their candidate prances,
while the party spokesman dances,
stalking and plotting, mocking and groping
to get their hands upon the helm.
Let us not forget the sacrifices of suffragettes,
of mixed quartets improvising more than musical advances.
yes life’s a lottery of chances
that have been bought with more than speeches.
So rise up my sons and daughters
and do not fear to look abroad across the waters
don’t be shackled by thoughts of purely financial matters
don’t forget the circumstance of history that still brings the misery
of children dying on Greek beaches.
So seek and strive at every turning to build the quality of learning
to steer our life choices, to lift aloud our voices
to ensure that it comes to pass
as every voters vote is cast
we govern by the compass
of fair for all social justice.
© Sheila Ash 16th October 2016
*caprice - a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behaviour.
**Ostrogoth - a member of the eastern branch of the Goths, who conquered Italy in the 5th–6th centuries AD
***satyr - one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods