As I’ve mentioned here before my Lockdown project is diving into fifty years of notebooks to see what pearls I come up with. Anyway in a 2017 notebook I found this poem called Sentinels. I have spent some time polishing it a bit, ready to join in new collection to be called With Such Caution.
And this week I’ve also been looking with some sympathy at the reportage around the Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the country and around the world.
One account which touched me very deeply was a demonstrator’s account of her experience of what is, apparently, called ‘Kettling’ (such a deceptively domestic term!) This is a really terrifying police strategy for controlling and containing demonstrators.
I have said here before of my novels, that writing fiction has allowed me to see through space and time. This happens more through accident than design.
Looking at this poem I see that I was morphing into the feelings I have now, years later, when I am seeing the images of the police in action controlling the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
They stand there, the sirens -
short hair, muscular demeanour -
bluff, pragmatic - family men
here on the wrong planet perhaps.
‘I thought you were illegal.’
So much standing, waiting - .
suiting standing, bristling types.
My Remegel and Ventolyn
are briefly challenged -
stupid me, still keeping them in my bag
We face the uniformed wall with its
bullet-proof screens, which gives them
an illusion of security -
a sense of enclosure -
without prioritising our safety.