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‘Rutland Street Revolution’, a poem for #NationalPoetryDay #NationalPoetryDay2020

Help isn’t coming

It was clear when they labelled us
a ‘left-behind’ community
we’d been pinned as a poster town
for abandonment, for poverty

a place visited by political parties
who take photographs, shake hands
get re-elected and don’t come back.

Help isn’t coming

Midnight rooftop standoffs,
bolted, plywood curtains,
thirty kids on stolen cycles,
broken teeth of terraced streets,
tracksuit thugs and fly tipped dreams,
memories of what this place ‘used to be’
our reputation reported in the newspaper daily

Help isn’t coming

So, what do we do?

We’re generations of powerhouse families
grown from Oxford, Tunnard and Stanley
survivors of circumstance, raised through austerity
still wake up every day with love for our community.

Help isn’t coming, so we’re helping ourselves.

We look past the headlines, comments, statistics
see the heart, the soul, the community spirit,
we’re forging ahead, a path of positive
for every boarded window painted,
and every broken streetlight mended
there’s a smile from a stranger,
a place-made argument ended.

We’re forging ahead and slaying giants
with acts of kindness and defiance
we’re working together, future forming
singing sunshine on the streets,
deck our windows with drawings and bunting.

We’re a community, no matter what happens.

We’re living up to our name of
Proud East Marshians.

A bold and powerful poem by our very own Lisa February – part of this month’s Proud East Marshian online Magazine: