Pleasing political poetry

Ravenscraig by Robert Graham

Before the steel mill shut the kids had toys
and bikes, their brothers bought old banger cars
they’d tinker with and polish till they shone.
After the steel mill shut, the toys were gone.

Before the steel mill shut the streets felt safe
to stroll, to meet with friends and share a laugh,
stay out late, no thought of going to bed.
After the steel mill shut, the streets were dead

Before they built an iron chain link fence
around the site where rollers used to hum,
were furnaces that proud men fed with coal.
After the steel mill shut, pride on the dole.

After the steel mill shut, two towns were gutted,
all their vitals thrown out with the trash.
They said the scars of loss would pass away.
Look around, the scars are here today.

Forgetfulness is memory upside down,
but living upside down the blood will rush
into the heads where memories are kept.
After the steel mill shut, remember how we wept.

Robert Graham is a retired literature professor in Canada who was schooled in Wishaw. The poem is from his collection, ‘Before the Yes’ (Friesen Press 2020), and used with his consent.

Borisocracy by David McKinstry

Climbing the Disraeli greasy poll
Whilst spouting a mythical past,
Of morning mists, churchgoing
Cricket and warm beer,
All a well-worn story
But ironed, laundered and spun,
By a sham one nation Tory
Welcome to Borisocracy.

Engaged in a verbal duel
With Rees-Mogg,
In competitive nostalgia
And reminiscence fog,
Peppered with imperial battles
And Latin phrases,
Whilst the plebs look on
With vacant faces,
Welcome to Borisocracy.

Appointing a Home Secretary
A modern Uncle Tom,
Claiming that taking the knee
Is no more than a convention,
With ice in her veins
And self-advancement her intention,
Welcome to Borisocracy.

Playing high politics
In a game he couldn’t careless,
Be it Covid or Etonian Brexit mess
Welcome to Borisocracy.

Peering from number ten
To survey the national horizon,
The Irish are talking unity
Whilst the Scots are slowly rising,
Farewell to Borisocracy.

Dr David McKinstry Teaches History at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow.

Photograph

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