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The Members' Blog

Using your Voice by Molly Campbell

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Article by Mary Campbell © 8 March 2019 .
Posted in the Members' Blog ( ).




As a writer I feel it is my duty to carry on the legacy of our forebears who wrote about the times they were living in, as a social commentary and often to lend political weight and publicity to injustices and inequalities in their own societies. Whether disguised in clever prose and rhyme or openly woven into the very fabric and characters of their stories, they gave us an often stark picture of the reality they witnessed in every day life.

Historians often gloss over vast periods of time and the mundane day to day realities of living in particular eras in favour of sensationalising major events, often to further their own or national agendas, so that some histories are lost to us forever unless we go looking for them in the stories and writings of the period. By using their voice those writers opened up conversations which triggered movements and change by making the wider public aware of what was going on beneath their noses. In isolation nothing ever changes, but with the might and power of public opinion and a shared solidarity, the silent and downtrodden gain courage and inspiration to fight for what they believe in and what they deserve.

I too feel that writing should not merely be self serving fantasy and frivolity but should also try in some way to reflect my own thoughts and opinions and address issues and concerns of those around me, so that those who come after me get a true picture of the attitudes and problems that influence my life. In my stories and rhymes I want to share my experiences and the experiences of those I come in contact with so that maybe I too can trigger conversations and activate change however small and insignificant.
That to me is a true measure of my success as a writer.

This is a poem I wrote about homes being repossessed in my neighbourhood, homes of hardworking people caught in the middle, working low paid jobs and struggling to keep their heads afloat during the financial crisis only to have their homes taken from them by uncaring vulture funds. There go I but for the grace of God.

Ruin

Standing there deserted, neglected
Boarded up windows, like eyes,
With rotting planks for eyelids, now closed
as if in death,
The face, its pebble dashed frontage,
weather-stained filthy and grey
Weeds strangling, overgrown and forgotten
like an anonymous grave
This once used to be a home
where little fingers scribbled mischievously
on every available surface
A place where love and laughter reigned
Remnants of fag butts kicked underneath
the worn welcome mat
Where neighbours once gathered
in shared habit
To smoke, to chat, to gossip,
to talk about the weather
and put the world to rights
While fragrant meals cooked within its walls,
drew everyone eagerly inside
To sit at table together, share food
among family, among friends
Once a fortress of safety and security,
of warmth
Where a mother comforted her kids
Where bath times steamed up the windows
and filled the halls with chaos
Colour and light and sound competing
in a whirlwind of movement
Then at last the welcome night times
The small ones
tucked up lovingly in their beds,
and silence
descended once more
With just the ticking of the clock
to disturb the peace
A shared cup of tea on the sofa
before bed
In soft candle light,
feet up at last, plans were made
Dreams were dreamed and worries shared
But soon the shadows crept
into this sacred place
The banks called time, no mercy shown
No thought for the lives
that would be shattered,
evicted from their home
The family displaced and dispersed
Though they fought a brave fight,
the battle unfair, the odds stacked against them
Where only the might of money
and a corrupt system could prevail
Broken and intimidated, the inhabitants
could not compete,
had not the strength
or the will to stand up to them
A family cast out, a home abandoned
Decay set in
Cold and damp now and boarded up
The only tenants within these hallowed walls,
rats and creepy crawly things,
who wade through dirt and dust
in the footsteps of the ghosts,
of a past that was once glorious
On the doorstep, only stray cats sheltering
from the breeze,
in the scattering cigarette ash, beneath the porch
A sorry sight to see
There’s nothing left now but a ruin
A symbol of the ruined dreams
of those forced to leave

– Molly Campbell


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