The Suffragette Legacy

A woman is making rosettes in purple, green & white
For a march through a city centre in a couple nights.
“But we have the vote,” I say. “Why the rosettes?”
They explain: “It’s to honour the suffragettes.”

A hundred years ago you threw yourselves under horses.
Put letterbombs through politicians’ front doors.
Chained yourselves to walls.
We have not forgotten your call for direct action.
We are just looking for the next campaign to die for.

The anarchist newspapers proclaim you didn’t die just for the vote.
“No,” they shout. “The suffragettes wanted the liberation of womenkind.”
I sigh. What is the point of fighting for freedom. From what? Capitalism.
Insidious is the battle. Apart from terrorise what can we really do
To change our lives?

In the women’s library a former acquaintance comes up to me smiling.
She buys my feminist zine. We embrace. I see her glowing, hopeful face.
Is it noble to remember the past? Provide a refuge?
But no crèche. What use is a women’s space without one?
The problem of male children.

My hands shake as I meet the illustrator of ‘Sally Heathcote: Suffragette’.
“You inspire me,” I say. “Help me believe there’s something worth fighting for.”
She signs her business card for me. Her wife sits beside her.
Progress is being made after all.

ends

(c) Ana Hine

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