ISSUE 3 - 1972

cover size 296 x 215 mm



What Voices is all about   Ted Morrison
The Escape  A.M. Horne
Arrival in Bowness   A.M. Horne
Tomorrow was Yesterday Back to Front. A.M. Horne
Perspective    A.M. Horne
The 7.23 Omnibus  A.M.Horne
A House in the Morning    T.M. Cullen
Ssshh!    Rick Gwilt
Huston, Texas       Rick Gwilt
Note Passed in an Empty Lecture Hall  Rick Gwilt
A Visit to Belle Vue   Ethel Hatton
In December 1923   Ben Ainley
The Day I Heard that Lenin was Dead Ben Ainley
Black man, White girl.     Sol Garson
Electronics Factory     V.Leslie
A Fable        Ted Morrison
Plain Pain in '73     Frank Parker
Onomatopoeia          F. Morgan
Beasts of Britain      John Smith
A Song of Piggy Banks        John Smith
Cupid    F.G. Walker
Holloway Prison    Julie Murphy
Put to Proof    Angela Tuckett
Joy and Pleasure   Angela Tuckett
Song        Angela Tuckett
A Serenade     Alf. Edwards
Words      Betty Crawford
Legend of Xanadu    Rick Gwilt
Some of our Best Men Went to Spain  Sol Garson
Laking - Yorkshire Holiday    J.I. Allsop
Was it Yesterday?    J.I. Allsop
Epitaph for a Bitch     Frances Moore
Magnolia     Frances Moore
Discrimination     Frances Moore
Celluloid Tears       Colin Frame
Rope and Birch      Jim Garnett
Blaming the Woman    Jim Garnett
A Good Woman        Jim Garnett
Pipe Dream         J.E. Sutton
The Gherkin            D. Hughes
The Picket       Ron Hughes
Rose and Life       Ron Hughes
Life is for Living    Dennis Maher
Sounds in the Night      John Brennan
On Coming on a Tramp     Frank Smith
Three Poems     Colin Frame




This is the third 'Voices'. It continues to -be a vehicle for working class expression. We want more writers. We want more readers. We want criticism and appreciation of this publication.

Voices exists because its publishers, 'Manchester Unity of Arts Society' , recognises that there is a need for magazines in which the literary potential of working people can develop and flourish, unhindered by traditions unrelated to their way of life, or by literary fads and fashions or commercial considerations.

This is in line with the general aim of 'Unity of Arts', which is to encourage interest in art, in all its forms, by organising exhibitions of workers' art, putting on plays either written by or about- working class people, sponsoring musical concerts and whatever other artistic activities our members or affiliated organisations call for at any particular time.

Eventually 'Unity of Arts' hopes to build up, with the assistance of working class organisations and other organisations in (sympathy with our aims, a cultural centre with an 'Arts Workshop', and other facilities for concerted artistic activities (Drama, Poetry, Literature, Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Music), which will be at the service of working class organisations and the working class generally.

To achieve these aims the Society needs to be broadly based, with a powerfully affiliated membership throughout the Labour Movement. It is the Society's hope therefore, that Trade Unions, particularly, will want- to become affiliated and help us; and in this they could not do better than take a number of copies of 'Voices' to give or to sell to their members. It will cost 28p a copy (20p plus postage)

All enquiries to the Secretary, Mr. E. Morrison, 110 Edge Lane, Stretford. (061.865.5862)



Through the blackberry vines cutting grasp
Erect coarse grass stinging our legs
We ran falling, laughing, jumping, rolling,
Away from the people with tut tutting-faces.
Soft grains cushioning our falls.
As feet were forced from sand-filled shoes
We lay on the highest sand dune
Looking over a bay of flat imitation waves.
Watching the sea creep back
Minutely examining its age-old path.
The sun set creating rivulets of orange quick silver.
We turned for home, the cold fastening coat buttons.
With the soft crushing of shells the only sound
I thought of boiled eggs with brown bread and butter.
A.M. Horne


The lake was a grey slate slab slippery with rain,
Hills stood cloth-capped in mist the damp falling stickily,
The steamer shivered rasping against the coarse roped jetty,
Its milk white paint work smudged with black plastic macs,
Cameras ready looking for magic they followed the main road to the shops.
Scraping moss green marble in search of a poet,
Buying a postcard of a sunny day,
They return with wet knees and foggy lenses,
Warming their bums on the hot steam pipes,
While the lake turned into a biscuit tin bottom shining deep and dull,
And the boat moved slowly away wrinkling its image with a turn of its screw.
A.M. Horne


My mind is full of people breaking down its doors,
Shouting, grasping, taunting, wanting to be heard,
Faces, full of faces not one to recognise,
Each -expressing nothing but demanding more than life,
Twisted, crippled, they loom before my eyes,
Crashing, lurching, rupture tender fibre,
Teeth dig into bleeding lips, nails indent my palms,
As pigeons peck, peck and peck incessant,
Crushing their beaks on stark tarmacadam.
Tears roll quickly down my cheeks and the terror subsides.
A.M. Horne


Trudging slowly to the summit,
My shoes echoing only silence,
The night softly surrounded me,
As start escaped from the cooling tower,
Enormous trivialities slid away,
Standing alone in true dimension,
Gazing at pin holes in a well worn blind,
I smelled truth and was refreshed.
A.M. Horne


Puffing, panting, boots splashing in murky mirrors,
Heart pounding, speed astounding, for a dreary morning.,
Grasping, leaping, mind still sleeping, (board the sad-eyed bus.
Coughing, smoking, lungs are choking surrounded by sandstone faces,
Laughing, smiling, fares a-piling came the large conductress, 
Softly speaking, of perfume reeking, changed gargoyles into people.
A.M. Horne




The three little girls were playing outside the old house in their terraced street.


"Mind out of the way Julie!'" The little girl stopped turning her end of the rope, which hung in mid-swing, catching the skipper behind the ear, and she turned to see the old lady standing behind her.

"Sorry, Mrs. Milton..." as she moved aside to let the old lady pass; but Mrs. Milton made no reply. She walked slowly, with her head bent slightly forward, past the children and into the gate of the old house set amid brightly painted other houses. The dark stained brown door opened and swallowed the old lady up. The girls resumed their game. "Salt...mustard...vinegar...pepper"

"I am - going to - my Aunty - Joans - today - she has - got a -new - baby", Karen recited in slow, chanting, rhythm, as she skipped.

The postman edged by and grinned as he passed.

"Have you got anything for us? Number seven?"

Annie dropped her end of the rope and ran after him, leaving the rope to finish its swing in a whiplash which wound around Karen's ankles as she stopped skipping.

Annie collected her letters and ran on to her own house, while the other two picked up the rope and began skipping together. "Salt.. .mustard.. .vinegar.. .pepper,.. salt.. .mustard..."

"Here, you kids! Out of the way". The man stepped from his van, collected the carry-crate from the back, and pushed past the girls. "Why can't you play somewhere else?" he grumbled and entered the gate to the first house.

Annie came back, and, ignoring the milkman, they began again. "Salt...mustard...vinegar..."

"I don't know why they can't paint this 'ouse. Its a bloody disgrace. 'Orrible old brown; can't see why they can't do it a nice blue, or green, even that orange; or even that purple over there; even that's much better. Bloody disgrace!" The milkman climbed back in the float and jangled off, down the road.

"Julie!" A voice rose from three doors down and the little girl stopped skipping, and the rope fell against her ankles.

"Oh! I've got to go - me and me mum are going to town to get some shoes"; and with that she left, dragging the rope behind her.

"Hey Julie! Lend us the rope please " . She stopped for a second, and then threw it, calling "O.K. Let me have it back later". The rope fell behind Karen, who turned to pick it up and found herself staring at a well polished pair of shoes, above which towered a priest .

"Do be careful children. That kind of thing can cause accidents". He half-smiled and walked on, entering the gate of the brown painted house with the dark windows. He knocked, and after a while the door opened, and he was gone. "Salt.. .mustard... vinegar... pepper. ..salt...mustard.."

"Oh! I'm fed up with this" Annie grumbled. "Let's play hopscotch". Karen thought for a moment, and then dashed off saying "Alright - I'll get the chalk and a stone!" Annie picked up the other end of the rope and skipped alone.


Shortly Karen returned and marked the lines on the pavement.

" 'ere! What you drawrin' in front of our 'ouse for?" Eric had just come back from the baths; his hair was damp and uncombed. The girls invited him to play for a while and he said O.,. As they began, a big black car with darkened windows drew up outside the brown painted house with the dark windows and the half closed curtains. Three men got out and one went to the door and knocked. The other two followed him as the door opened, and they all were gone.

Annie's mother appeared, as if from nowhere, and took her away, saying as he left, "You two had better go home too".

The door outside which they were playing opened and a voice ordered Eric inside. A moment later the door re-opened and a hand reached down to pick up the wet, rolled-up towel from the step, and the same voice announced, "You had better go home now Karen".

As she turned to go, the street seemed suddenly empty and quiet. There was only the car, no other people anywhere to be seen. Mystified, she began to walk towards her own home, past the brown painted house with the dark windows and the half drawn curtains; and as she did so the door opened and the three men were slowly spilled out, carrying between them the long box coffin with the shiny handles. The driver got out, opened the door at the back, and the long box was inserted.. The four men then climbed back into the car and drove slowly off into the just beginning light rain, as the door of the house opened again and the minister appeared. He pulled the door gently shut and left in the direction he had first come, his back catching the lightly driven rain.

Annie stood, watching the car drive slowly down the street, as the quiet sounds of the engine diminished and blended with the returning sounds of distant traffic and the sounds of people; and the world returned to the street where the little girl stood outside the brown painted house with the dark windows and the half closed curtains framing the new shed rain tears.

And the little girl began to skip, slowly away from the scene, into the sounds.


T.M. Cullen



Tomorrow morning
While the sky still hangs in darkness
And the air is a bromide dissolved in the night
I shall go off to work down the tea-mines of
A nameless land.
Down the tea-mines
In the fearsome ranks of the goblin army
I play the renegade to learn
The secrets of their arcane world
And steal their gold.
Down the tea-mines
Open cast against the sunrise
That lights the dust in eastern shafts
A ghost of dawn with crimson fingers
Down the tea-mines
Where raindrop never dares to seep
No mid-day sunbeam makes so bold
To break the gloom of powdered chambers
In the house of...
Down the tea-mines
One cannot be too careful, nor
Too reticent about one's purpose
Nor breathe one's thoughts where Echo is a
Goblin girl.
Down the tea-mines
Where the air is drier than any desert
Where sound is duller than any silence
Dark machines are slowly grinding
Neath a hill called....
Down the tea-mines
One cannot be too sure; the soul
must take discretion for a guard
Assume the nature of the crypt
Emtombing her.
Tomorrow morning
When the time has stopped in emptiness
Like a train that cannot start without
A passenger, I shall go off to work
Down the tea-mines.
Rick Gwilt


Sometimes in this symmetrical city
There are heart transplants
And when is the body really dead?
It is when...no, listen while I tell you,
It is when a yellow light goes out
In some distant window.
Yes, where appearances are everything
Invisibility is the end.
Look, quickly, over there!
No already faded, a flashing neon sign.
Somewhere there will be sadness,
A sense of loss,
Deep within someone's wallet.
Sometimes you will see me bathing in the darkness.
I am a hermit crab,
I wear my loneliness like a shell.
It is not mine.
I was born to wear a coat of laughter
In kaleidoscopic colours.
Above my mind there flies a scarlet banner,
For I know who has stolen my birthright.
Sometimes, if you look closely,
You will see the sadness behind my eyes
As I ask, lady
Take this poison from me.
And afterwards
If you see the sadness linger on,
Do not feel defeated.
It was the wrong battle, anyway.
Sometimes, as the night grows cold,
You may see me sitting in the wind
Singing softly and out of tune
As the rain drapes itself around me
In melancholy folds.
Do not disturb me,
For I have found my own harmony
With the storm.
Rick Gwilt


So you deny being a brown-noser
When your face is browner than a hundred generations 
of coconut oil? well never mind
I like the whiteness of your smile bobbing up to meet me 
after a day of swimming through seas of faceless faces 
each evening we lie prostrate and breathless on another beach 
like waifs cast up together in the desperate freshness 
of empty conch and limpet shells
with starfish friends and salty kisses
maybe one day the dream will come true and they will understand 
we are not looking for things to put in our skillet
no, we are looking for another way
we shall come together with the crabs and anemones 
to look for another way
like travellers to the wizard of oz
we shall carry them across mountains and desert 
we shall bear them safely through the cities
in answer to traitors we shall betray even better and more nobly
at times we shall be others 
we shall be who we please 
we shall be invisible 
we shall find another way
Rick Gwilt




My childhood was spent in a large family during the pre-war depression.

I only remember one holiday at the seaside and outings of any kind were few and far between.

In those days the local Co-op used to offer cheap tickets to Belle Vue and I remember one of these festive occasions very well.

We all piled on to one of the rickety old trains whose route lay between Hyde and Manchester and which stopped directly outside Belle Vue. This ride was an adventure in itself because we kids would wait with bated breath to see if the trolley would come off the wires when it reached the sharp bend at Reddish Bridge. The conductor used to reach a long hooked pole out from underneath the tram and would spend some time manoeuvring about with it until the trolley was back in place.

Belle Vue was a very different place in those days than the present complex. There was more emphasis on animal houses than the open air enclosures of today.

The lion house was nearest to the entrance and I mainly remember the combined stench of animal urine and Lysol, so overpowering that one would stagger out at the other end literally gasping for breath. I don't know what the King of Beasts thought about his abode, but I remember that on one occasion he lifted up his hind leg and expressed his feelings all over a visitor's shirt front.

The monkey and elephant houses were also popular and pungent places and a very big elephant used to walk about in the grounds giving rides to children. The only place I didn't like was the reptile house because I once saw a snake having a dead rat for its dinner and the sight sickened me.

I seem to remember that there was much more entertainment included in the price of admission, with band concerts and open air dancing. on the wooden floor in front of the boating lake, and although the Bobs and Scenic Railway were running then there seemed to be fewer traps for unwary parents in the form of expensive sweetstuffs and amusements.

A free cup of tea and a bun were also included in the Co-op ticket for which we sat at long wooden tables on forms, and although the tea was served in very thick blue end white cups it tasted a lot better than the plastic cupped beverage of today

The highlight of the day was the evening firework display. As dusk gathered a huge crowd would gather in front of the boating pool and the sky would light up with multi-coloured flashes. On the stage behind the boating lake a glittering spectacle representing a Chinese carnival was presented. The climax was reached when a huge dragon wended its way across the stage. I was so enchanted with the scene that it did not occur to me that men were underneath the dragon to give it mobility. I probably thought that one large inmate of the reptile house had been impressed into service for the occasion.

I wonder if today's over-exploited children get as much real pleasure as I did out of a visit to Belle Vue. And I wonder if the shoppers in today's blue and white emporiums are as conscious as my parents were about the value of the Co-operative Movement to the working class. Somehow I think not. 

Ethel Hatton



I face the nightsky thoughtfully, I young
Urgent and anxious, hotfoot, gladly living,
With earnest scrutiny those stars among,
To one that red and fitful glow is giving.
It moves me as I stand here and reflect
Upon the days and years that make my life
Spent in a tumult thus where class and sect
And each and all of us are joined in strife.
That red star glittering quietly seen afar,
A globe of light swinging through shadowy blue:
Why does life move so slowly on a star?
What life stirs there, breaking out ever new?
We on this earth are harried day by day.
The tasks of every minute and the fears,
They drive our dull and kindly dreams away;
Each day has tumults that spread on through years.
We face the next few generations' heat
With stressful and determined minds, we face
Toil, pain, despair, joy, victory and defeat,
The birthtime of the young world's lusty race.
A million men in Europe, quick in thought,
And passionate in deed, young, earnest, tense,
Look upon life as chanceful, a strange sport,
Zestful with unknown stakes, hazards immense.
Days of transition, while the whole world waits,
Thousands and thousands suffer, die. We stand,
Uncertain in the breaking down of states,
Whether we too will see the promised land...
Under the canopy of night, when light,
Goes, and the world is quiet, and we commune
Each with the stars as I upon this night,
Thoughts sing themselves in a half-mystic tune,
Much lightness and much love we have given up,
Not ours unhappy to sit with dear girls playing,
Through long adventurous nights. We take our sup
at hasty pleasure, working to bring the day in.
Much we have given up because we love.
Because we love we have seemed to make love lass holy.
We have not dallied, dallied with velvet glove,
Fanned, jewelled girls; nor sighed, been melancholy,
We have faced life, flinched not: looked it in the eyes:
Trembled, been weak, yet stuck out hardily.
Weary, blind, stricken at the edge of enterprise,
We have dared to be bold to make our children free.
Knowing what works in the minds of the sleepless gods,
We have been titans working, and we rest,
Conscious of bitter tumult, heavy odds,
Making the fabric of our lives attest
Our will to win: and Europe shall remain
After our sleepless nights, days of campaign,
Free, classless, a continent of enfranchised,
And confident young demigods; our task
Ended, we shall pass on. And the surmised,
Hoped and awaited children will not ask
How we brought gladness to the young continent,
Their joy will rush from them in flooding song
These things are dreamed; they are not evident,
We wait them. Struggle, hope, bear us along...
Star in the night, I, human, weak, yet brave,
Out of my tumult and the war I wage,
Look to your red and changeful glow, a grave
Luminous silence on the starry stage.
Out of young urge and passionate I seek
Ever unsatisfied, laughter and youth,
Song, kisses, gladness, warmth of eye and cheek,
These things laid wistfully by in our stern truth,
Our purpose, our task.  I look on you red star,
Lifted; cold, luminous, passionate as you are.
Ben Ainley.


The day I heard that Lenin was dead
Was a gently adventurous day to me;
I had studied Russian for two splendid hours,
I had written a letter to a kindly friend,
I had spoken across six miles of wires
To a dear little selfish girl-friend making
Rendezvous for an idle weekend.
At sunset I left the library,
And in the damp glitter of Piccadilly
With lamps above, and puddles reflecting them,
Surrounded by sights and sounds, familiar, friendly,
The clatter and grind of trains, the speed of motors,
The hurry of people, skysigns, the darkling skies,
I saw a poster flamboyant with "Lenin is dead",
And my heart was leaden and my brain was angry.
And "No" I said "it is another of their flaming lies.
Our comrade will live to read the hundredth time his
own obituary in their bestial press .
But my fears belied me, and I was afraid,
I forgot my manhood, and when I saw my comrades,
They spoke that evening with hushed and gentler voices,
Because our comrade Lenin, our leader, was dead.
Ben Ainley




The big man was black. He had a broad nose and a full sensuous mouth. Deep purples and reds showed as the sun shone on the skin of his forehead and cheeks. Straight back and as heavy as Paul Robeson, he looked as strong as. Muhamid Ali and stood somewhere in between them in age at 55. He had drawn strength from both these men, from Du Bois and Baldwin, Marx and Maupassant, Shaw, Shakespeare, but he had always been quick to read of the people of his own race.

A small. white and pink girl in a bright yellow coat walked alongside with her hand inside his elbow. His spare hand covered it. Her black curly hair was covered by a tied head-scarf. She had a thin painted black line following. the edge of her small eyelids, but the rest of her face was untouched by false colour.

Gently, as they walked and talked his big hand would pat,. stroke, caress hers, They looked very happy. Many of t he shops they passed were shut, closed, for this was Alexandra Road, Moss Side. The year was 1973. Behind the blind and dirty empty shops and the few remaining still open, worked the demolition men. Tall iron arms swinging half ton metal balls in shaky, rotten houses. Purpose-lit fires licked and. ate all the timber that had not been taken away to be sold and teams of heavy tractors and J.C.Bs pushed, flattened, scattered and lifted the rubble on to tip wagons that raced off when the last shovelful had put the tip .on the little mountain.

The tall man with this small young woman on his arm stopped at the last chemist shop to remain open and looked in the window. She pointed, he smiled, and they both walked in. Two-minutes and twenty pence later, they came out. Holding a neat little parcel in her spare hand "Joe" she said, "let's do the streets like we used". Joe, named Joseph -by his Bible-bred and believing dad, nodded. "We shall if you want, baby, and there's not much left. A month ago I was- not too happy about going. Now I can't get out of the place too quick. All the fellas have gone, The place is sad baby, sad. We will start at No. 1 Portman Street, where you was born, right? Then we'll do the whole hog. Bishop, Hulton, Bland, Meadow, Stockton, Sowerby, right through to Platt." They stood together at the corner of Great Western and Alec. waiting for the lights to change.

The soldier ants stir,
The scouts sent out.
The thirst for blood is about.

Two white pimply youths with matted hair, pushed past with purpose and aimed a blow, knocking the parcel to the ground. A small smash glass sound. The pavement darkens with oozing, clear liquid. The air becomes thick, sweet. The girl, damn it, dear reader, I can keep the, secret no longer. the girl is Joe's daughter. Now because you have read thus far, I feel I owe you the truth. There must be a bond between us.. But only you and I know. The two boys didn't know.

Joe's daughter is called. Kathy and she looked down sad. Joe looked at Kath. Could not allow himself to look down at the spillage. Then he put himself between her and the wet, cupped her face in his white-faced palms and looked into her eyes. Both his thumbs wiped her eyes. His blood beat hard in his chest, his arms, through the heavy veins on the back of his hands. And through his hands to her, and from her, back to him. They stood there sharing a common fear, anger, hatred of the wanton, wilful destruction of a bottle of scent, a present, a gift.

Eventually Joe made to return to the shop, but was held by Kathy, more firmly this time and they crossed the road towards Portman Street. Soon they were smiling and talking of the gay days long ago when Joe, with his delivery bike, would pedal up and down the streets selling the "Daily Worker", Kath and her young brother securely tied in the basket with woollen scarves. Oh, the excitement, the laughter and all the stares. That made the people look. Joe enjoyed his laughter when he recounted - big black man on a bike, w ith two kids in a basket. One white little girl and one black little boy. One black little boy that died too soon one Sunday morning. Twelve, and sent for the papers across Princess Road. Joe had bitten his hand hard many times since. What happened, mad bastard driver, or not so careful lad? Too late, too bad, the agony of recall brought tears to Kath and Joe and they walked straight faced for the next few minutes.

The soldier ants scouts return
And report to Lustful Queen
There's fresh meat to burn.

"Oh yes" said the fat woman to her pimply sons "I'll soon stop the black bastard's capers. Young white girl eh?" and without taking off her dirty pinnie, she rushed out of the house and ran towards Portman Street. Now out in the fresh sunshine air she would have noticed that she had left the smell of the house behind, only she carried the smell with her person. It was not difficult to recognise at a distance the linking Kath and Joe. Panting and just out of earshot the fat woman shouted "Leave her alone you black bastard", but it was lost on the air. A ragged dog sniffed and lapped dirty water amongst the rubble. In spite of her slipping., sloppy slippers, she made up some distance and again she hurled her wordy missile. Man and daughter stopped and turned. More ill-chosen invective flowed from the fat woman. Life had hardened Joe. Most people who knew Joe loved him. A quiet man and kind, a good man, but not now. This kind of talk he had heard before, knew why it came and would not get used to it. "Piss off, you fat cow" he shouted, because the fat cow had stopped, many yards off when Joe had turned. He had a fierce face on. The clarity of the loud message struck home. Crushed her aggression.

"Piss off or I'll kick your big fat arse, you filthy cow!" he said and it looked like he meant to do it. The filthy cow did feel like pissing. Did not expect such a clear, precise and threatening reply. Swore, and to herself swore that she would yet have this big black bastard. On her way back she knocked on many doors. "Have you heard? Did you know? Guess what happened to me." Her story grew from door to door. By the time that she had reached her hovel it had grown into a direct and unprovoked physical attack on her person.

Fat with her rivals blood,
The vile Queen ant
Reeks with evil intent
Pushed and pushes unthinking minions
Rushes to food.

The fat lady felt much bolder now. She had surrounded herself with some eleven men, women and children and one half-man, pushed along in a cane chair with wheels. It was not the perambulation over cracked flags, but a natural, unnatural motion that made his head shake from side to side. His lips tightened and the lower, pressed hard, would slide upwards and touch his nose. His head would fall back to make many creases in his thin, flab neck. All the while his eyebrows would rise and fall, surprise and worry, surprise, worry. This, God's creature, would make many an atheist yet. "Can't you push Fred faster Alice?" panted the fat lady, pointing, shouting-and urging more speed.

More difficult to find now, Joe and Kath were standing till at the corner of Raby and Talbot; looking at the gaping mouth of Moss Side. The rotten stub's were being pulled out and smashed. The noise' and dust offended little. What wrenched was the disappearance of the brick clothing of part of their history. Sadness and sorrow filled the linked pair. With a deep breath and a big stretch of Joe's fertile imagination he could see the beauty that once was Moss Side. Near on a hundred years ago, he thought. New, clean tidy rows of beautiful houses. Each with its little garden in front; well - most. Alright, so some were bigger than others and had a big garden at the back instead of a small yard. And a room at the top, for a servant, but all had a cellar to store coal and keep food cool - Joe's historic eye focussed on the occupiers. These houses were for the managers. Those for the foremen, and these for the labourers. Broad shoulders, long strong arms, it was the big labourer that got the smallest house. Studying these houses had in the past been part of Joe's political education. The owner bosses used to live in the grand houses with a drive - in Whalley Range. Then they moved to Didsbury. Then they diffused to Bramhall and Mere, Hale Barns and Prestbury, and further afield to fresh and greener pastures, well away from the working mass; but in Moss Side still, the workers lived and in 1973 they move to Hulme. New Hulme, next door. "God damn Hulme" Joe said aloud. Kath looked up and smiled her own little smile. Only one side of her mouth would lift. Joe knew this would disappear in time, as her self-confidence grew. "Most of the time, she's away at College in Ripon. Get a good education she will, and she doesn't know wrong with Hulme". "I'll tell you love" Joe said, in answer to her smile. "For one thing, they didn't clear the sites of old Hulme properly, and the rats and mice got in the new concrete cavity walls and they are still there. Talk to the tenants. The council won't clear 'em, and they won't clear the streets and the rents are mad high, and they are going up and..." Kath pulled heavily on Joe's arm. When Joe was fluent and in full flow his voice would rise, and his hands would squeeze hard on anything in them. Now he realised he had been pressing Kath's ring-finger - "Sorry love".

"No, it's not that dad, its my knee". Joe looked down; a trickle of blood (was slowly moving down her leg. "Something hit me". Joe heard the din of the little raucous mob, Just a second before he got them in his eye. He saw the fat woman with her mouth wide open, in the middle. He heard everything and saw everything but his eyes kept looking on her face. The wheel chair, the pimply ones, the dog, the wet lower lip touching the nose, dirty pinny, eyebrows up -down, surprise, worry, wagging tail, shouts "Black bastard -black bastard - go home black bastard.."

"Where's Kathy?" - take her hand, she must be frightened. "Kath". Kath was bent low over her knew and he put his hand on her yellow coat back. "Take your-dirty black hand off our white girl" slurred the man in front. Broken braces and collarle-ss shirt, his beer-foul breath made Joe take a step back. Emboldened by what he took to be Joe's fear, he lurched another short step forward. Then Joe saw that the drunk had a bread knife at shoulder height. "Give me that knife, you pig' yelled Joe, and the drunk fell backwards. Heeled heavily. on fat woman's foot. She pushed hard with all her wild hurt strength. The drunk fell forward on to Joe with both his hands out. One had a knife in it.

Paradoxically, everything with Joe was how it should be, and not how it was. He could not feel the hardstone flag bed, nor Kathy's soft hand on his head. Was not aware of the mingling of tears and perspiration. Her first proper tears - his last long sweat. He had left school at barely fourteen. Never heard of relativity physics, but was now unconsciously shattering his basic concept of time and space. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, were neatly interwoven. He could see clearly (the day before he was born. His daddy sweating, begging the doctor to come. "Please, oh please sir, come and see my wife". "Have you any money?" "No? - well then, go away and don't bother me; come on Harry, it's your deal". Joe's mother did not feel the pain of lying on her hard board bed - pushed on a hand cart to the Royal Infirmary. But 'Joe, little wet smooth Joe inside water filled bag belly, felt the pain. '-'Turn Joe, avoid the pain". "Daddy, dad, help will be here soon" said Kathy, as her dad turned, but did not hear "Daddy"; could feel the pain of his mother's pregnancy. Joe could feel the ants crawling over his body. Their knife sharp cutting edges, tearing his meat. He could see them carrying away their little loads, held high.. "See these pieces of Joe, come on, hurry, get some more, more". The soldier ants are relentless, but Joe is strong - his powerful arms begin to flay, and with each mighty blow he crushes ten, a hundred, a thousand, and more and more.

With all his strength gone, he lies back in-the cool water to rest. To float and rest, happy that he has crushed every ant, all over the world.- Happy, happy, and the dream ends.

The little white girl in the red and yellow coat stands up.

Sol Garson



(scene 3)

The Factory Foreman strikes efficiency 
into the hearts of all of us 
Omnipotent in dark suit with Biros 
he patrols the factory floor, finger on the vital pulses
of a smooth productive process. 
Went to night school for ONCs 
to construct a springboard of knowledge
from which he leapt to his present heights 
Too important to smile at
Too clever to argue with
He is the Factory Foreman, if he has a name 
its smaller than the title
that is always thought of in capitals. 
He is in his place, we are in ours 
and if there's a connection between them 
it's dwarfed by the dimensions of the gap.
Incredible that he should arrive as he did. 
when we six were working late - rush job. 
He enquires - are we warm enough
and suddenly, he becomes Gordon, 
married with three kids and a dog named Pudge, 
member of the Badminton Club, 
having trouble with his carburettor, 
He sat with us in his Fair-isle sweater 
and graded washers for the job. 
He fetched cups of juice from the machine 
and took a proffered cigarette. 
He laughed at the jokes - even told one 
all the time grading washers inexpertly. 
Come eight o'clock, he offered lifts 
a mile out of his way, and he sang 
with the radio as we rode home with him.
Incredible that next day, he became 
The Factory Foreman again 
Without the Fair-isle sweater he was again 
his title - the great man - The Boss 
Lord over us five hundred women, 
and if he remembered the previous night
the memory was shut behind his professional face 
and the dark suit with Biros

(scene 4)

Time is money - ask the T & M man 
The reason why they don't explain 
the why of the operations to girls 
of supple minds, -
is that it would take time 
And that is the reason why 
a girl may scan her operation 
with its fifteen wires 
families of components 
solder joints and panel scans, 
with little interest
in what should go where
Time is money - ask the T & M man 
The reason why training is minimal 
is that it takes time
And that is the reason why
for every fresh operator on the line 
there is a fed-up repair girl 
doing the job over again.
Time is money - ask the T & M man 
The reason why we work too fast 
and make our inevitable blunders
is that to do it properly would take time. 
It is also the reason why each week 
there's overtime for all
repairing, re-wiring, re-making 
the results of all the- haste.    -
Time is money - ask the T. & M man 
Ask him the reason for his work 
and he will tell you;
To save time and money 
no matter what the cost 
because, Time is money.

(scene 5)

They are unusually honest at work 
They wear no make-up, no fashions 
Their language is unfiltered
by social consciousness 
The jokes are obscene and 
the laughter full blooded 
Their legs are comfortably open 
as they sprawl naturally 
And the girls with freckles
or spots are not hiding them. 
If the young executive arrives 
nothing changes.
They are well versed in the knowledge 
that his soul is sold for the next eight hours. 
He is dead from the neck downwards
He is deep in thought, considering the possibilities of 
a three-handed operator. 
And though he moves in a sea of limbs 
he does not stir physically. 
Rather, he is responding to the joys 
of a mathematical calculation in his head. 
He has solved the problem of a left-handed operator.
The barrow-boy appreciates the sights, 
He leers and whistles at the girls 
Cracking a suggestive joke and grinning. 
Still nothing changes.
They are immune from rejection. 
Their value here is theft efficiency. 
They have adapted to the requirements 
and in that respect, 
each one of them is desirable.
The situation is therapeutic 
to the unlovely.
Where else might they find 
themselves wanted, even coveted
 than in this communal love affair. 
No chance of being usurped in a place 
where agility is the prime asset 
And the ideal of being wanted wholly 
is too far gone down the trail
of disappointments in love 
o exercise more than a tug. 
They embrace the substitute warmly 
and their fingers fly ever faster.
Vivien Leslie



He was an old man and his dream was old, born when through the eyes of a young man the world shone with the promise of a wonderful future, an ideal future. Now he was no longer young and no shining future lay ahead of him, yet he could not relinquish his youth-born dream. He would speak with a fire that long ago should have left his heart of a better world, of the future that was the heritage of his people, the future that he and his generation had fought for with their minds, with their collective strength, with their blood.

For as long as he could remember he could remember he had lived with the vision, vividly recalled when he was alone in the quiet places, that he sought when the need to think weighed upon him, of that future time when every man and woman would be blessed with the dignity of freedom. Not just freedom from oppression, though that was part of the dream, but freedom from ignorance, from the chains that bind the unthinking, whether their ignorance is due to lack of opportunity to learn or some inadequacy in their intelligence. For those who had not had the opportunity to learn, to know the truths that come only to the thinking mind, he burned with sympathy and strove with all his skill as a teacher of men to make them see. To those who no teaching that he or his fellow teachers could devise could free from the appalling burden of ignorance, his pity ran deeper than tears; for tears help only the weeper. Nor was he ostentatiously kind, as some men are with the weak- minded, but he never failed to treat them as equals, bearing their foolish talk and their shallow behaviour with that stoic patience which is common to men who have glimpsed Truth but not the face of God in truth He could not believe in God. Indeed part of his dignity stemmed from his atheism. For if there is no God there is no One to Whom the blame can be attached for the existence of those who can never learn to see the Truth. Thus he was never given to bitterness.

Being without knowledge of God he could not properly be called a saint yet by sheer force of goodness and benignity, he had attracted a group of acolytes around him who shared his dream, quoted his speeches and drew from the well of his inspiration. Among these he had a favourite, although he would not have admitted oven to himself that this was so. Nevertheless, being a very human old man, he was touched by the devotion of one of his followers and took to referring to him as "my friend"

He knew also that this man above all who looked to him for guidance, had the greatest need of his sympathy and help. For this man, he knew had feelings as fierce as his own for his follow men. yet, because he carried the pain and suffering which was woven through his life, compressed tightly inside himself he could not express this feeling in a way that might help both himself and his fellows. Whenever he tried to speak about something which he felt deeply, his inner pain rose up and defeated his intention, so that his words seemed to deny themselves by the violence with which they were delivered. And so nobody believed that he was a man of compassion, though they pretended to be so to his face.

All this the old man knew, though he never communicated his knowledge to anyone. Often when they were gathered together in debate this deep-rooted pain would pour out a torrent of heated words, jeopardising not only his own argument, but, by its disturbing influence, the effect of the old man's teaching. .At such times, the teacher of men would wait until there came a pause in his friend's turbulent outpouring, then, quickly, often with sorrow in his voice, ask a question that seemed relevant to the speaker's argument. As soon as he received an answer the old man would put another question, then another, all seemingly relevant questions, yet each one taking the perturbed man further from the source of his agitation until he had recollected himself. After these outbursts he would lapse into brooding silence, as if reflecting on the conflict within himself. Sometimes he would catch the teacher's glance and embarrassment would pass fleetingly across his face, as if he believed that he had earned his master's displeasure. But the old man never by even a stern glance, confirmed that this was so.

The old man died. His dream of universal light lived on in the minds of his followers, but it was still only a dream. His friend sat by his master's deathbed and couldn't control his emotions; tears ran freely down his cheeks as he remembered how they had shared a noble dream. For two evening hours he sat and looked and remembered. Then the tears abated and he felt a calmness melt through his body, clearing his mind and lifting his sorrow. He thought he heard the old man's voice quietly repeating the words that he had spoken to his friend only a few days before his death: "Tears help only him that sheds them, yet it is sometimes right to shed them; we all need to rid ourselves of troublesome emotion in this way, sometimes. Likewise the pain of living should be shed - but not by tears". "In what way, then?" he had asked, "Can we rid ourselves of such pain?". After a long silence the old man spoke: "Never fight your grief; to do so will merely increase it. Think of it this way - the more pain and grief we experience, the more joy we are capable of experiencing. We must learn to look at both sides of our experience

The old man's advice had not made much sense to him. Now as he sat in the profound stillness of death, understanding touched the edges of his mind and he became aware of a new sense of peace growing within him, pressing out the pain of his past life. Vision arose in him too, and he glimpsed a world in which his master's dream was fulfilled, and he knew that at last compassion would live without conflict, within him.

Ted Morrison



If could put on paper 
what is in my heart 
it would burn
or turn into a shroud 
to wrap my shrivelled soul. 
I die, 
in the quagmire of my mind, 
the hot mud, 
the lava flow of thought 
burns me up, 
I disappear in flames, 
Yet; if my body was a perfect mirror of my mind 
the agony of Christus could be seen, 
the caricatured misery of a medieval hell; 
the torment of tortured souls.
pain enough to fill a universe with groans, 
and madness incipient, makes the very air surrounding moan.
And never, can I think, has suffering been so deep and long. 
A man could endure, and should, for an exalted cause, 
for humanity, or for his God;
but me?
Small man: Gigantic pain. 
I love, but she loves not me.
Frank Parker




A few days after the first big Manchester blitz found us settling down in this little 140 year old dilapidated hovel about 8 miles south of Manchester lacking gas and electricity, but luckily equipped with flush lavatory and mains water.

We felt safer and our baby could be put to bed at nights where-as previously most nights were spent in the air-raid shelter.

It did not take long before eager gossipy neighbours put me in the picture as to the "goings on" in the Dale.

Many of the men folk in the Dale were away in the services, but Mrs. A. had run away with Mr. B. and left her child with its putative father - but that's another story.

I was flanked by Mrs. Y. and Mrs. Z. Mrs. Z's mother-in- law soon let me know that her son had married beneath him only because "he had to". Personally I thought he had done better than he deserved, because young as she was, his wife managed very well on his very low earnings. At that point there were two children and shortly after he was called up to the Army.

Mrs. Y. had two children and her husband was already in the Army. Both women were determined to fill the role of both father and mother to their children, and these kids could do no wrong.

Whenever the kids had a row the mothers would join in, and at the end of every bout of abuse, Mrs. Y. would have the last word with "You bloody fornicating bugger - you're nowt else".

And so the war years passed, seeming to alternate between the fluctuating gains and losses on the military front, and the squabbles and makings-up on the domestic front.

Makings-up between the neighbours seemed to follow some little relaxation of tensions. The word would go around that the Co-op had had a delivery of biscuits or oranges or suet, and on one occasion the word came that white bristled scrubbing brushes were to be had. That was good news in those days, before washing machines were common place, and everything had to be scrubbed.

Shortly before the end of the war, an agitated Mrs. Y. came to speak to me. "Eh!" she said "Do you know what fornicating is"? "Yes, of course" I said. "Well" she said just found out what it means. You know when I call Mrs. Z. a bloody fornicating bugger - I didn't mean that at all". She hadn't wanted to give me the wrong impression. She hesitated a split second, then with a smile and a wink she said "but it sounds right".

F. Morgan



A Heathen's in heaven
All hells here on earth.
But green lights glow
Down the line in the gloom,
and twinkle their greetings,
On back to back meetings
Where scarecrows and beggars
Cough blood by the embers
And count up the members
Of fish and chip families,
Bottles of ale,
And spit out their scorn
For express, sun and mail.
While the telegraph's rest isn't
Pestered by pictures of
Festering sores and dirty diseases
From soot-soggy sneezes
Down dark dirty murky dark mines.
Do the Downing Street dodos not know
That the mine is a mine
Of unmined minds, and a pit
Of wits decaying?
Yet wave a wand and
Whisk those wits to the
Waltzing chintz and whiskey stints
Of country mansions, chandeliers,
Of E-type tooting cavaliers,
And unearned tears of wives of peers
And sterling fears of racketeers -
Then light would fight those
Bones of stones and coal-dust mingled minds;
Those slag-heap humans, mighty moles.
Would see the cage of light
Descended shafts of countless
Slinking, shivering, Sweat-soaked,
Quivering, Scuffling, shuffling,
Shuddering, shovelling shifts.
And they'd drop their picks
And lift the sticks of blood-red banners,
March in mass through Fleet street fog
Down mansion mews where bloated bellies
Bulge and simper, cringe and fawn
And with a whimper give them newsprint- Papers mooing,
Proving greed is man's undoing.
And they'd kiss those vile and
Violent villains -Twisting, tweedy, ball-point villains,
Oxbridge, ogres, city rogues,
Harrowing parasites, poor eaten appetites
Gobbling gold and gourmet pheasant,
Trampling servants and spitting on
Peasants who don't answer back - why?
They're scared of the sack,
Which is waiting for those few
Debating the weighting of wealth
On the social scales.
Now first-class cigar smoke
Is sneaking from pink champagne
Reeking from financial times,
Compartmented city to city;
And rising mists mingle in magical swathes,
Revealing the stealing, the hate
And the reeling of junkies
And vice squads; the pawn shops
And porn shops where
Shameless debauchery revels and gambols
While prostitutes shamble
Down Wardour Street weeping
For what might have been.
Do they weep for their young ones?
Unsanctified young ones?
Those giggling, gurgling,
Dimple-faced, dumpling faced
Lullaby babies are doomed
From the first to the landlord
Town tenements - cash-raking
Muck-raking, rat-ridden,
Horn-honking houses
Where flick-knives flash faster
Than bleary eyes blink over peelings,
And feelings are stifled while
Men mortgage muscles to entrepreneurs
Making millions from donkey's years
Man hours of misery -Selling their donkey dirt souls
For the sake of some surplus value..
And is your life for this?
That a lifetime of labour
Spent licking the boots
Of a millionaire neighbour -
A tender pretender to airs and
To graces, is finally stopped
By a gold watch and chain
(if you're lucky) and handshake
That says you're consigned
To the scrapheap of has been
Humanity - humbled, rejected,
Forgotten, neglected, to die
In your soul-shrinking, free-thinking,
World of calamitous vanity,
Pensioned and dying a dog's death
Of senile insanity?
Workers of Britain
You're being had; you're being done;
You're being rationalised;
You're being bamboozled
And fiddled and diddled
And done and undone
By handfuls of men
While you sweat through the day
And each night brings you
Nearer to penniless death, -You're being exploited!
You're being exploited
While deep in your hearts
In your tick-ticking hearts,  
In your quick-ticking, clock ticking,
Clock-working, hard-working
Slave-working hearts,
You know what to do.
And you know how to do it.
John Smith


Sing a song of piggy banks,
Buckets full of beer,
Dogs and cats and guns and tanks
And stinging salty tears.
A face, a place, a rendezvous,
A match, a flame, and glow,
A plastic raincoat, hasty kiss,
And boot-prints in the snow.
A door-way, stone steps worn away,
An iron grate, a hole;
Pigs trotters trotting through the hay,
Two hedgehogs and a mole.
There's no romance upon the sea,
There's little on the land,
No happiness for you and me,
Just hard skin on the hands..
No peace, no rest, no fireside calm,
No candlelight and tea,
Just empty bottles, paper bags,
And stifling memories.
When will it wilt, this wicked whirl,
This dance of death and shooting?
When will the smoke of ruins
Swirl away from vultures looting?
When piggy banks are smashed and broke?
And human pigs abolished?
When wealth belongs to simple folk?
And no gun barrel polished?
John Smith




"Leave me alone....I don't want to talk to you" said the blonde girl in the blue suit. She began walking away along the embankment.

The young man in the sports jacket followed her, uncertainly. "B-but Mabel...let me explain" he stammered.

She stopped, turned and gazed at him as if he was something that had just come out of a drainpipe. "Pah!' she said then. The young man chewed at his bottom lip.

"It wasn't what you think" he said tentatively. "Her shoe got stuck in a grating and..."

"I don't believe you".

"It's true and I..."

"And what's more were finished. Here..." She struggled savagely with something on her finger. Then she threw an engagement ring at his feet. "Take your ring". Her voice was strident, but throaty.

The young man's jaw went slack, his mouth dropped open. He bent down, picked up the ring. For a few moments he watched how the diamonds winked in the afternoon sunshine. Then he said abruptly

"Mabel, be reasonable."

She sniffed; turned her back on him. She stood there, arms folded, one foot tapping rhythmically on the footpath.

As the young man opened his mouth to protest he saw the cop standing on the other side of the road. He came slowly across. He eyed the girl before querying

"Is this man bothering you miss?"

The girl stopped tapping her foot; glanced sharply at the young man. In a voice like chipped ice she said

"Yes, he is" Then she stalked away and stood near the embankment wall.

"Now look here officer..." The young man's voice trembled.

"It's alright, we're engaged".

"Oh" The cop smiled mysteriously, then he winked. In a knowledgeable tone he said "I understand sir, just a lovers' tiff".

The girl wheeled round. Her eyes blazed with a green fire.

"It is not".

The young man took a pace towards her. He held the ring at arm's length.

"Oh, come on Mabel, take the ring back" he pleaded.

She twisted sideways as he tried to take her hand. The ring fell to the ground and bounced near the cop's feet. He picked it up and advanced on the girl.

"Come on miss, you can't throw a thing like this away" he said.

The girl pouted her bottom lip, looked at the man, flickering her eyes up and down. In a tight, petulant voice she said

"Give it to him then" The cop shrugged, turned to the young man.

"Perhaps you'd better take it then sir" he said hopefully

"No constable, it's not mine. It's hers".

The girl let go a quick exhalation of breath..

"It is not and I don't want it and I'm off" she panted. With that she tossed her head and began walking away along the path. The cop looked at the ring; frowned. In a small, uncertain voice, he said

"What about this sir?"

The young man shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't know" he said perplexedly. Then he turned on his heel and hurried after the girl. He caught her up and took her arm. She tensed. Without stopping she said

"What now?"

The young man bit his lip, then he said coaxingly

"Look Mabel, let's go somewhere and talk".

"What about?" The girl paused and looked up at him. He grinned sheepishly; his fingers tightened on her arm.

"I don't know...about how much I love you, I suppose

"wha..at?" .

He saw the anger fading from her face. On a sudden impulse he slid an arm round her shoulders and pulled her towards him.

"Tom! Not here" she cried. A blush the size of a small forest fire burned in her cheeks.

He laughed..

"We'll take a taxi then". He turned, looked up the road and signalled. A taxi came purring up and rolled to a stop.

The girl said

"Where are you taking me?"

"Does it matter?" he threw an anxious glance at her.

"Not really,..as long as we're together".

The taxi driver rested one arm on the steering wheel, made a clucking sound and raised his eyes in a gesture.

"Where to sir?" he asked in dry tones. The young man ignored him. To the girl he said

"Then everything's alright Mabel?"

Her face became a little dreamy.

"Of course, darling" she began. Then she looked down at her left hand. In an awed whisper she said "Tom... the ring".

There was a strained silence between them. Then all at once they saw the cop coming along the pavement. When he drew level the young man said

"Constable, Mabel and I have got engaged".

The taxi driver leaned forward; laughed throatily. "Blimey" he said. The cop smiled indulgently. He dived a hand into his pocket; brought out the engagement ring.

"Allow me madam" he' said.

The taxi driver sat up straight. His mouth opened and stayed' open.

The girl held out her left hand. The cop slipped the ring on her finger. He saluted and sauntered off along the path.

Swallowing painfully, the taxi driver murmured: "Blimey, bloomin' Eros."


Frederick G Walker




Four weeks! Ann couldn't grasp it.  Four weeks! How could her appeal have failed?

Bitterness and self pity mingled in her thoughts. In a nightmare she was propelled into the prison van. A month! And she had been certain of release. Her knees pressed hard against the cubicle wall. She felt entombed. The dim light from the small translucent pane only heightened her misery. To have to return!  She wanted to scream out to the scurrying figures in her path. What did they care for her world, as they bustled deafly like beetles with their eyes fixed on the scattered oblongs of the pavement. The van bumped to a stop. Holloway!

Robot-like, she followed the warder took the proffered cape and undressed in the cold brick cubicle. She bathed mechanically and put on the prison clothes.

"Doctor next" said a voice, and she followed it to the tiny sick room.

Her anguish was suddenly shattered. She reddened; perhaps she had not heard correctly.

"Have you got V.D.?" the doctor spoke irritably.

"Why, have you?" she retaliated coldly. The fury broke.

"Any more of that and you'll go straight to the punishment cells. Get on to the couch and let me see"

So the humiliation was to be carried on to the end. On reflection she felt that the doctor was being degraded, not herself; perhaps that accounted for the nasty temper.

The examination was followed by finger-printing. The form said "Take an imprint of the prisoner's right thumb before and after she has signed her name". The first right print was taken, Ann signed her name with her left hand and the warder mechanically took another print of her right thumb. Ann chuckled inwardly and felt a slight vindictive satisfaction. She felt less tense and began to look about. Everything seemed calculated to depress - whitewashed brick walls without the usual veneer of plaster; high-barred windows which seemed to diffuse everything with a grey light. Everywhere the jangle of keys proclaimed where she was, smirking rhythmically that the only way out was through time.

She followed the jangle at the warder's waist, past groups of women ferociously scrubbing as they came and relaxing as they went, or others arrogantly leaning on their hands and staring challengingly at the warder. Few looked at the prisoner with curiosity for it was a scene with which they were well acquainted. Only one, with more cynicism than compassion, shouted, "Cheer up, luv, it's not that bad".

The warder, wisely ignoring all round, marched stolidly on to the Governor's office. She tapped on the door and entered with Ann. The Governor, expecting her, looked up slowly.

"I'm sorry your appeal failed; I didn't think it could. However, I can't treat you any differently from the rest of the prisoners whilst you are here, but you will go into the block for first offenders and your work can be in the warders' hostel.

The block to which she was taken consisted on three sides of three tiers of doors bound in by landings. Access was gained by steel stairways, so that the whole differed very little from the mental picture Ann had gained from American films. Stretching from side to side, and halfway down the well that was formed in the middle, was a tough wire netting, which the prison authorities had thoughtfully provided to prevent would be suicides from escaping from their lawful punishment. The only thing missing was the bars with the tough, criminal characters chewing languorously and turning a sneering shoulder on the gaoler. Each cell was in fact, the very essence of compactness, being neatly enclosed, with only a tiny peep-hole in its heavy steel door by which Authority could ascertain that the prisoner was not embarrassing it by hanging herself or doing something equally drastic.

In the cell Ann looked about her and a blanket of claustrophobic panic swathed her lungs. Putting heel to toe she paced the room - thirteen by fourteen. The furnishings, though sparse, made it seem much smaller;- a bed, small scrubbed table and chair, and a corner fitting with basin on top and bucket underneath. A tiny barred window shone out near the ceiling, and Ann, moving the table underneath, climbed up to stare into the courtyard by which she had entered. The sight of space revived her mind a little, though this did not improve its state.

"What if there was a war? What if a bomb dropped? How would she get out?" She laughed at herself to regain her calm. "Being melodramatic again".

Her fight was interrupted by a key in the lock and as she jumped quickly from the light the parson entered. He smiled quietly and asked her to sit down.

"I'm afraid there's not much I can say. I really didn't think I'd see you again. However, if I can help you in any way, just ask to see me. Politically, I don't agree with you, but in the matter of Peace there is a lot we should all do'.

Ann was up long before the morning began. She stared at the walls and thought. If only she had been a moron, she could just sit and think of nothing. Prison was not equal in its punishment. A day in gaol could be just boring for one person, and purgatory -for another. Some people could accept philosophically or without any thought, but to her it was torture of the finest degree. She felt she must cease to think or succumb to madness.

The prison woke with the daylight. A jangling began in the corridor; doors slammed and voices began to mingle with the noise. Her door suddenly flung itself open and a peremptory voice told her to empty her slops and get water. Friendly prisoners told her the procedure, and she felt relief in the gregariousness. After tidying her cell she joined the file of women in the breakfast queue. She refused the slop of porridge, took the two slices of bread and pint of tea and returned to eat in solitude.

Work came as a relief. The warders' hostel was clean and light and the housework easy. The woman in charge, motherly and sympathetic, gave mild endless lectures on the folly of attending political meetings. Her sympathy didn't end there however. Mysterious, well-wrapped parcels of cakes and boiled eggs were placed regularly on top of the dustbins. She worried sincerely over her charges, and grim was the day when her concern caused her to hand in her resignation.

Dinner from day to day was unvaried, and eaten only as a starving man might eat a cat - telling himself it was chicken. Tea was the same as breakfast, minus the porridge. Ann wondered how the pregnant women survived on such a diet, For their only addition was a pint of milk. The babies, which they saw on their walk to the hostel, looked pale and sad. They too, suffered for their mothers' crimes. For them their cell was a cot from which Ann never saw them emerge, and their gaoler the oldest, most decrepit prisoner of all, an old granny who could scarcely wheeze, let alone attend to each tiny cry. The brightest child was blind: she spent the whole cry whooping up and down inside her bars, making a mockery of the macabre spectacle.

"You'll be able to go to the library" said her friend on Monday.

"That's good! How many books can you have?"

"Two a week"

"Only two, and locked in for twenty hours a day!" Ann was amazed.

"Yes, and you don't half get it if you're caught swapping with another prisoner!"

The library in the first offenders' block turned out to be a converted cell with two cupboards on the walls. The books were jumbled together, unclassified and uncared for. Ann picked up one and read the title - "The Murdered Blonde". She put it down and looked at another - "Confessions of a Bride".

"Come on there, you haven't got all day".

Ann sighed, ignored the speaker and turned over a few more spines. At last, in desperation, she picked up the two thickest, signed her name and returned to her bed. If I can't have quality I'll have to plump for quantity - it might make the time pass, anyway" she philosophised, gamely trying to sound convincing to herself.

Bathtime was the hangman of all modesty. True, each bath had its own cubicle, but the doors appeared to have been put up as the survival of an old custom, as each was only waist high and terminated at the ankles. The water was controlled from the corridor, so that it was either scalding hot or reminiscent of the Antartic. Fresh clothes were distributed by a fellow prisoner, who, being used to abuse and neither caring nor heeding, looked neither at size nor fit, so that one week one's dress would gaily wrap itself around the ankles and the next would terminate abruptly just below the thighs.

Ann was particularly interested in the other sufferers. She noticed that morale was high in spite of everything, and that a great effort was made to "keep up appearances". Make-up was a cherished possession, and could be bought once a week at the prison shop, although the sevenpence received in payment for work was hardly likely to buy very much. Ann felt most sorry for the women who smoked. They must have suffered agonies. Every morning, on the way to work, there was a mad scramble for discarded "dog ends". An inveterate smoker would trade anything for them, the barter usually being food. As soon as it became known that Ann was a non-smoker and also demanded no payment for the drug, an endless stream of tobacco beggars seemed to drift past her cell in the nightly recreation periods pleading their craving. Ann rationed them out painfully, then greeted each subsequent plea with a useless shrug - impotence meeting misery.

All was not gloom, however, and for one glorious evening she managed to get out for a lecture. A lecture never experienced in the outside world. Women - hungry for news of normality. Questions came thick and fast - "Describe the latest fashions" "What was the price of eggs?" - Ordinary everyday things that sickened the mind with their simplicity, and showed her how far removed from life was this citadel in the centre of the largest city in the world.

The women jokingly referred to Ann's sentence as "Bed and breakfast" and although questions were rarely asked they seemed to know the details of each case. All crimes, with one exception, were cheerfully tolerated. "The only difference between us and them outside is that we got caught" was the way one old lag aptly put it. The exception mystified Ann for to her it seemed the one excusable case, and the one that called for most pity. She felt deeply for the ostracised woman, who in sheer desperation had abandoned her children on a step. It mattered not to the stern prison code, that the poor woman was emaciated and ill with nerves, that she had been turned from her flat and that her one thought had been to have her children received into some comfortable home. It was obvious that she had had her share of civilisation and now prison was turning into anything but a haven. Her rightful place was obviously in some rest home, where she could be awakened to life and its responsibilities, but Civilisation had decided otherwise; the Law must be upheld; weakness must be crushed ruthlessly; the individual must fit into Society or suffer for her shortcomings.

"Only a week now" said Ann to her friend one day. "You'll be going before the Panel soon then".

"What's that?"

"Oh, they ask you if you need any clothes or money on your discharge, and find a job for you."

A few days later her friend's words materialised. Ann was led to a small room and found herself the focus of six or seven pairs of eyes. Feeling mildly embarrassed she sat down in the proffered chair. She had decided in the back of her mind that she deserved paying for her ordeal and that if money was forthcoming she would take everything she could get.

"We see here", said the chairman looking at his notes, "that you don't need any clothes, but how about your job?"

"The Union's dealing with that at the moment".

"Oh, well, we can't do much to help there, then. Now, how about money? Is your husband coming to meet you? We see you had nothing when you were admitted".

Ann could not bring herself to lie outright. "I don't really know".

"Well how much would you need to get home, if he doesn't come?" Again she lied -

"I don't know

"Well we'll see into that, and there'll be something for you on Thursday, so don't worry".

Thursday started long before dawn. The hours before the warder's keys seemed interminable, but at last their familiar jingle swung towards her door. Breathlessly she followed the few other dischargees towards the cubicles and received her bundle of clothes with emotion. Everything felt so soft and luxurious, and her shoes were gossamer - like after the prison brogues. Coming out of their privacy the women bubbled with talk and smiles. How different they all looked! Surely, this wasn't Mrs. Grey, and look at Pat over there!

Their guide led them on to a small office overlooking the gate.

"Can't let you out til eight, y'know. Oh, this envelope's for you but if your husband comes you must give it me back". Ann took it and tried to feel the coins inside.

"How much?" she thought.

"You'd better stand upon that chair near the window and see if he's waiting".

Ann got on to the chair and saw Jack at the gate. She jumped down quickly before he noticed her.

"No, he's not there" she said determinedly, her heart thumping.

"Well, you'd better stay up there til its time to go. There's another five minutes yet".

Obediently she remounted per perch and gazed down upon her husband. As if willed by her eyes he looked up, gave a start, and then waved vigorously. Ann jumped down again quickly without replying. She was determined not to weaken, and felt as if a battle of wits was going on between her and the Authorities. The clock suddenly struck her reprieve and the prisoners moved towards the door joking with the warder.

They stepped into the yard and waited whilst a small door was unlocked in the great gate. As they stepped one by one into the world, four men who had been brought from Brixton to repair a roof looked longingly at the freedom beyond. As Ann stepped out, two hands grasped hers. Jack looked pale. For a minute neither could speak as tears came to the surface.

"You did have me worried. What were you doing at that window?"

Ann laughed through the mist in her eyes. "Oh, I just thought I'd get something out of them. I can open the envelope now".

She slit the packet at the top and the coins tumbled out into her hand - two shillings!

Julia Murphy




So how to tell what's true
From what is vain?
The old will yield to the new,
Dark become plain?
All struggle puts to proof
Each heart and brain:
The hardgot seam of truth
Begins with pain.
No other proof than Spring
Will come again,
Returning birds will sing,
Frost melt in rain;
Plough deep the ice-bound earth
To harvest grain:
Who bring new worlds to birth
Begin with pain
Angela Tuckett


A pleasure is like ice
Held in burning fingers
You may grasp it boldly
For a while it lingers.
Like quicksilver is joy,
You may grasp it never,
But you may hold it lightly
On your palm for ever.
Angela Tuckett


As falls the rose,
As the stars set,
As ebbs the tide,
So we forget.
Dawn follows stars,
Tides make the sea,
New rosebuds spring,
How then should we
Stand still unchanged
And let life pass,
Waxwork dummies
Behind the glass?
Live, change, forget!
Somewhere I'll be
Alive in you,
And you in me.
Angela Tuckett


(to be sung to Toselli's serenade)

You, you're my delight, giving such pleasure
I know you're the one to end the loneliness that I have known.
Take the hand I give gladly, my treasure,
Let me lead you to the wonderland we'll make our very own.
All my love I'll give to you,
All I ask is your love true,
And then we'll know that bliss of a love beyond compare,
It's our paradise
That we will always share that none can make compare
Must take especial care to be so very fair,
And we will have that oneness we seek so eagerly.
You must know as I now feel
That this love can be quite real
And so we must betroth our hearts in such loving trust
It's our rainbow's end,
You know this is a must we'll not betray this trust
We'll love till we are dust with such a loving trust,
And we will share that oneness we seek so eagerly.
Whisper you'll be mine light as a zephyr 
Reassure me so I'll know I'll never be again alone, 
This is our serenade.
Alfred Edwards


 People use words in various ways, each newspaper can't mean what it says,
yet, daily they sell, and daily you buy, then workmates all
argue which told the lie,
your paper said this, my paper said that, the editor sits
back, and purrs, like a cat,
you've paid his price, he's snarled up your brain, the
Press Lords are happy; they publish for gain.
People use words in various ways, stage, screen, or radio,
and television plays.
the working class are lazy, boorish, greedy, vulgar, crude, 
the upper class are cultured, clever, generous and good,
yet, they tell us we're one nation, and their favourite word is Fair,
but, they legislate our wages, while they keep the lion's share.
Don't you ponder as you view this, can't you recognise yourself?
Its you who are the simpleton, producing all their wealth.
People use words in various ways, verbal acrobats in Parliament, 
merely serve to fill their days, 
there's a vicious wages spiral' so the whole damn lot agrees, 
there's one way to teach the workers, impose a wages freeze'.
But the words they use are clever; 
Say 'the future can be bright, and we're all in it together; till they put the matter right.
So you shrink your family budget, though you grumble more and more, 
but you won't do aught about them, till the wolf is at your door.
Will people like us ever learn how to say 
these are our words, and this is our way' ?
Our old folk are hungry, our children in need,
so share out, or clear out, enough of your greed.
Speculations and corruption, sordid details by the score, 
the ugly face of Capitalism must go - for ever-more
People use words in various ways - Democracy isn't what Capital says.
Betty Crawford




When the Sphinx was a young girl, she was very popular with everyone, being gay and carefree and yet managing to remain unspoilt. But as she grew older, being Sphinx gradually became a full time job, and she found she had less and less time to spare for friends. Almost imperceptibly the prettiness of her face began to change into a cold contemptuous beauty. Old friends would be turned away by her stony gaze, and yet deep inside she longed to burst out from behind the facade. And so she found a compromise of sorts. Under cover of night she would take the young men of the village to her bed. She never slept with the same young man twice. Love was a luxury she could not afford, but orgasm offered her relief for weeks, sometimes months, at a time.

Then one day a stranger came, a young man from a foreign land. He looked rather fierce, and he took her by surprise with his gentleness. For the first time since the Sphinx's childhood, something troubled the waters of those deep brown eyes. A tear rolled down her bronzed cheek. He spoke to her softly, telling her of his travels through storms and blizzards, over mountains and sea. And they lay a while in silence until in the cold light of dawn, she remembered who she was.

She tried to command him not to come again, but his eyes just smiled. She started to plead, but she read something in his face that told her it was futile. He said simply "You know I'm not going to leave, don't you, love?" I want to free you from the name you are 'carrying". He' disappeared quickly lest the morning catch thenr together. And she knew there was no longer any room for compromise if she were to remain a Sphinx. And so s he made her decision.

The following night the stranger returned. Uncertainly, he knelt before her, scarcely blinking as he stared at (her, his face struck with disbelief that slowly gave way to sadness. All night long he knelt there, sunk deep within himself. There was already a trace of dawn in the eastern sky when he rose abruptly and, slinging his bag over his shoulder, walked away the way he had first come, leaving only his footprints in the sand. The Sphinx showed no trace of emotion, for she had already turned into stone.

Rick Gwilt



Some of our best men went to Spain
And some of our best men died
And some of our best men never went,
Oh Comrades, how they lied
About the pros and cons and politics
Of why some stayed and gently prayed
That they were there.
Smash my leg, turn white my hair
And posthumously praise
My heroic deeds
Whilst Fascist Franco's needs
Were gained
As were razed
The white-washed sunny
Walls of Spanish town.
When they came back
Our heroes tall
With limp and legless badge
Joined in the fight
But faced a war,
A war within
Their war-torn minds
More savage than before.
Some of our best men left behind
Were left in Burgos jail to rot
And some were shot
And others since garrotted
And Garcia Lorca should have wrote
God help you freedom fighter
When you stand up from below'.
They'll wire your testicles for sound
And shock the world to make a good example
For other gentle gentlemen to follow.
Like the Vorsters and the Rhees
And nameless Colonels who rape split Greece
And gentle Thieu,
To name a few.
And the dead shall lie together
Side by side from Viet Nam
To Derry and to Sharpsville
Like the keys in a piano.
George Jackson and the Rosenbergs
Lumumba and Cabral
And Che Guevara with his death
Brought Glory from the horror.
I wonder what the price is
Of insurance for Angela Davies?
Will she as a wife
Enjoy a life with children
Or draw an old-age pension.
She yet may sing
With Martin Luther King
And be angels together.
Forty years of time has marched
The young troops now turned old
Find difficult to comprehend
When they aretold
It's right and proper
Now to trade
With Franco's Fascist Spain.
If we did not
And left the field, wide open,
How would it gain
The proletarian struggle?
Neither sad, nor cynical be,
The times they are a changing,
The rules are not so simple now
The space men that you see
Are Yank and Ruski
In Sputnik and Apollo joined
And soon we'll find
Its all done by co-operation
Like in Ireland.
Sol Garson



To where do you go when laking?
The highways, skyways or railways taking.
For to find that peace of mind,
With life's pressures far behind.
By some sunny beach of tropic clime
Inner cooled with Lemon and Lime,
Evening dances on a palmed veranda
Exotically dressed like Carmen Miranda.
Or away to the Isles, Lochs and burns,
Highland slopes with their pines, heather and ferns,
That ere time passed this way,
Left little to remind of a busier day.
Oh, where do you go when laking?
Without any of these pathways taking,
You will come to no harm,
Stuffing your guts on a farm.
But, don't get caught like me,
As a cat high up on a tree.
For to please the loving, spouse,
You decorate the whole bloody house.
J.I. Allsop 


The stillness, eerie quiet before a storm,
The peace, tranquillity that brings the dawn,
Was suddenly broken by a human scream,
A cry of ''Fire '' awoke my dream.
Twas not a time of deepest sleep,
Twas not either a shepherd with his sheep,
But a "limber gunner" on dawn standby,
As oft before, in hissing rain, but now in desert dry.
Shatteringly came the splitting crack,
Our own twenty five recoiling back,
And for miles along the line,
Shells spewed out with menacing whine.
The day wore on, barrage unabated,
Our thoughts cried out to our related,
That the enemy had not yet replied,
Lifted our morale, so sorely tried.
The sun grew hot, then began to fade,
The tanks came through,our point was made,
Orders given to increase our range,
Load, fire, repeat, or barrels change.
Now in front the battle high,
The armoured Seventh and the P.B.I.
Through the night, and following day,
Then "Limber Up" were on our way.
Word went round that Jerry's cracked,
The chase was on and we were backed,
The R.A.F. this time, up aloft,
Support from behind was far from soft.
However sweet may victory sound,
The sickening, nauseating smells of death abound,
Now the living, as one, thank God aloud,
For life to be lived and not a desert shroud.
Our comrades fallen, we now lament,
Sour turns the wine of victory, for our descent,
To be human butchers, like our foe,
The inner voice calling, yet on ardon we go.
Long after the sand hasstilled,
Soddened by the blood that spilled,
That the time will forever fly,
Like the skite hawks in the sky.
We look back on those days and say,
Did we ever pass that way,
That our sons be never sent,
Nor the world stay forever Bent?
J I Allsop


Grant she was sour and sharp

-bitter lemon

Life is no tune on the harp
For a working woman.
Monotonous drudging at mill 
At bench or sewing machine, 
Come home to drudgery still, 
To cook, wash, tidy, clean.
The honey of courting done,
Comes the drag of children,
The lonely stint at home,
A work-worn husband.
Tele and football pool,
Happen some bingo,
Daughter from work or school,
Resentful and spiteful
Not even in old age
Reprieve from worry,
Hunger and a cold grate,
Not enough money.
Put by her bitter tongue,
But all these things recall,
Which warped her since she was young,
As they cripple us all.
Frances Moore


Lament, lament the victim's pain,
The broken flesh, the twisted mind,
But shall lamenting bring again,
The dead, or make the killer kind?
The wailing of the mourner. keens
The wailers when the next bombs fall.
Vietnam today - and New Orleans -
And Hiroshima. yesterday,
And shall tomorrow burn us all?
Frances Moore


Black man or white, all you want woman for 
is bare in bed; not mates 
co-operating in the human race. 
No more than colour can we dodge our sex 
and its attendant pressures, nor 
the insults due to the uncircumspect; 
when cerebration or emotion draw 
consciousness clear of outer accident.
Daily exposure in the common streets 
or in the daily press
of lush young woman flesh 
lures the consumer to expense 
on purges, booze or what other sweets 
outside of relevance
even to human coupling; but heats 
male sexuality in excess
and scales the female partner down as cheap.
Just as fast transport sets
those who break barriers of distance frets 
of black-white, day-night metaphor-, 
and whets
weapons to complicate division for 
those who have vested interest in more 
occasions of internal war

-race hatred or

the genocidal enmity of sex.
Never allowing us not to remember 
we never can qualify as equal member
of a man's world; a white man's world; a world 
where Male White Money talks; and all our right 
is to drudge up another's gaudy night.
Frances Moore




I was standing in a movie queue with my girl friend. There were lots of other couples too; all hanging around in the cold waiting to see Diana Ross sing the blues.

Two small boys were enjoying themselves playing football around the crowd; weaving swiftly in and out of the people. It had been raining all that day so the ball was wet and dirty. We all stood like plaster statues, only our eyes moved, following the moving ball, ready to jump aside quickly to avoid being hit by it. We did not want our clean Saturday clothes messed up by a shitty ball.

No-one thought to tell the boys to go and play elsewhere. We just stood and watched them in a kind of silence, of each others discomfort.

The boys sensed our unease, this was their victory. They swelled in arrogant pride; call it bravado. They became more daring, they raced up and down the waiting people -faster and faster weaving faster and faster. Then something happened. One of the little boys tripped and fell headlong on the hard pavement.   I think that he broke one of his teeth, blood bubbled out of his mouth. He stood up quickly and ran away to hide his pain and humiliation. His friend, quiet, looked at us, then went after him.

The crowd stood in silence for a few moments then someone laughed. The laughter was infectious, others joined in. Soon the entire crowd was rocking with laughter. They obviously enjoyed the boy's accident. Someone said that it served the bastard right, he had no right to be playing football there.

The movie hall opened and we all filtered in to weep for Diana Ross. Celluloid tears.

Colin Frame



We are a backward people
We come from "Down the Vale"
Live quite near the tall Church steeple
Now listen to our tale.
We never think to buy a book
And read it in some quite nook,
Wed sooner buy the Sunday "Dope"
That s why we're shouting for the Rope.
And when we go to cast our vote,
It's still the same old story,
We'd gladly give it to a goat,
If they labelled it a Tory.
Although we sometimes go to Church,
We're firm believers in the Birch,
We'd make wrongdoers squirm and squeal,
The flesh from off their backs we'd peel.
We don't sit down to read and think,
We'd rather have a drop of drink,
And neither do we care a damn,
How many die in poor Vietnam.
And what goes on in Ireland,
We do not care a jot,
As long as it's not Englishmen,
We don't care who gets shot.
So all we do is live and hope,
That some poor scoundrel gets the rope,
With evil hearts we go to Church,
And pray; Oh God, bring back the birch!


The above poem was written by me in the Mill after two young married women had been round the mill and the village getting signatures on a petition sheet calling upon the Government to bring back hanging.

Jim Garnett



Adam was the only man,
This tale you must believe,
And Adam was a lonely man,
Until he courted Eve.
Poor Adam felt ashamed,
Because he's nothing on,.
But Eve, she was a Weaver famed,
She wove two figleaves strong.
Soon they felt they'd like some food,
So to the Orchard went,
They both felt in a merry mood,
He had no bad intent.
Eve took him to an apple tree, 
And spun a yarn so well, 
Her story stung him like a Bee 
Twas then poor Adam fell.
So this is how the story's told,
It comes to us from days of old,
I think it is a dirty shame,
To make the Woman take the blame.
Jim Garnett


She ever was so blithe and gay,
Full of joy and childlike play,
Angel like, your hearts she'd sway,
With smiles just like the Sun's bright rays.
But when she's laid beneath the clay,
And flesh and blood are in decay,
The "Soul" has gone its "Heavenly Way",
No more to fight this earthly fray.
And time has come for "Judgement Day"
The lord" will turn to her and say,
You have no Sins to wash away,
Pass on my dear, be on your way.
Friends left behind you need not pray,
Wreaths and Flowers you need not lay,
Bow your heads not in dismay,
She never had a debt to pay.
Jim Garnett


Step on my cloud 
enjoy with me my 
land of love and liberty. 
Peaceful days 
and no tomorrows. 
filled with weeping 
filled with sorrows. 
No more bombs 
no class distinction. 
No more fears of 
world extinction. 
No-one there to make the law, 
one for rich and one for poor. 
Black and white go hand in hand 
all are equal in this land.     
This land of love and liberty 
should not be just a fantasy.
J.E. Sutton



(Translated from La Nouvelle Critique,,) (Anon:)

A Typical story


A true Story by Dominique-Hughes

In a factory not far from Paris a trade unionist is having a petition signed to support the claims of the staff.

A personnel manager calls him "Have you got the permission of the manager?" The argument warms up. They refer to the manager. The personnel manager holds his hand in the direction of the telephone. The union delegate becomes impatient - "Pass me the gherkin" he says.

"The gherkin?"

"The gherkin!"

The personnel manager chokes himself on the telephone. "Sir, you have just been seriously insulted". The manager chokes himself in turn - "Three days suspension". The union delegate does not understand; to him gherkin is a popular word for telephone. This is what he explains to the personnel manager who demands that he stops making fun of him so openly. Neither he nor the manager nor anybody else knows this meaning of the word 'gherkin'

The delegate is sure of his facts but how to establish the truth? He enquires of the District Secretary of the C.G.T.. how to prove that he is right? A few minutes thinking, then an idea; I know a lecturer of Nanterre University, he should be able to find the reference of the word 'gherkin'. Little cucumber, clot, nothing to do with the telephone. But I will make enquiries.

Feverish enquiries and exchanges of phone calls between linguists of Nanterre; at last a lecturer rushes towards the library, flips through the reference books, finds the word and the equivalent "Telephone - Pop." Three hours later the Union delegate presents himself to the personnel manager with the photocopy. A gherkin is really a telephone. There has not been any insult.

If the story stopped here it would be a very nice one. But there is more to it. While the gherkins of Nanterre were ringing indefinitely, the workers of the factory, hearing of the delegate's suspension, had immediately threatened to go out on strike. The manager had given up, lifted the sanction and besides given satisfaction to the claims, without having consulted the dictionary.

This story is exemplary in more than one way and could introduce long developments on the following topics:

LINGUISTICS AND CLASS STRUGGLE. The Industrial relations being what they are, the word "gherkin" in the manager's head could only mean "Imbecile". See "The Exception and -the Rule" by Bertoldt Brecht.

ALLIANCE OF THE WORKING CLASS AND THE INTELLECTUALS, OR THE UNIVERSITY IN THE SERVICE OF THE WORKERS. Imagine the fever of the academics who are at last able to put directly their science (their knowledge) as they say) in the service of the workers. It is not everyday a true feast.

THE RULING ROLE OF THE WORKING CLASS. Imagine the disappointment of the academics when they hear that a little threat of strike is stronger than big dictionaries.

There remains the most important question and the thickest mystery of all. What meaning of the word 'gherkin' did the delegate have in mind when he said "Pass me the gherkin"?



Cold this morning, 
crane overhead 
slowly rusting; 
seven weeks now 
it has stood idle, 
shiftless and listless, 
will be seven more, 
if Thirty's not paid. 
Canteen's not changed, 
it's as dirty as ever, 
flies from the bog 
cover the tables. 
Cement's all wet, 
rained hard yesterday, 
agents too lazy 
pull over the tarp; 
would not have happened; 
that's one job, 
when this is over. 
Here comes the first 
Pat from Belfast, 
up early this morning; 
Did you shit the bed?" 
I'd like to shit, 
on this bloody agent" 
Not a bad lad, 
first time on strike, 
just joined the club. 
Who's that singing?" 
Big Joe Jones, 
the calypso king, 
worth ten on a picket 
when the pigs 
do their duty. 
They pick on Joe 
It's the colour of skin 
black as the heart 
of building employers. 
Here's the I.R.A.. 
Dublin Branch, 
Top of the morning Pat; 
how went last night?" 
Better than home, 
your mates were active". 
I've told them mate, 
should be over here, 
they'll find the culprits, 
waxing fat on profits". 
Here come the last, 
get us a bad name 
just come from mass, 
prayed to the Lord, . 
take the employers 
to heaven, 
or to hell,
but off this earth, 
for workers to begin, 
all of them together 
to build the houses, 
roads and docks, 
and in the process, 
build the workers' Republic. 
They've a lot to learn, 
God's with the Employer, 
it's his creation:
He's the employers' property. 
We create the wealth, 
of this prosperous country. 
Let's claim our property, 
dispense with employers; 
then we'll start to build 
and emancipate our lives. 
It is a long hard struggle 
to reach our goal, 
but every strike won 
is a nail in the coffin 
of the employing class. 
So stand firm lads, 
when this nail 
reaches its mark, 
we are one step nearer. 
Now at the blacklegs 
and re-educate them brothers, 
We'll need them with us 
in' the final battle.
Ron Hughes


Red, white, fragrant,
gentle petals, tempting bees,
sucking honey, food for life.
Who? How? Where?
are the enemies
that you have faced
Greenfly, rust, mildew,
these from time immemorial
won as much as lost
the new
Clean your shirts whiter
Drive your car faster
Nervous breakdowns quicker
Once fed CO2
returned to us 
lift support substance
Now choked on
gastrostomic exploitations
such delights
Strontium ninety
Carbon monoxide
Sulphur dioxide
Radio-active fall-in
to her
So arise
you slaves
of bastard progress
Break your chains
put back the fragrance
in rose and life.
Ron Hughes


Young once - with spirit for love
-generosity for life
-need for people
You give so much - received so little. 
Life is for living.
Old and grey, lined face, struggled bones, 
varicose veins, weary heart, 
you have lived.
You lived the filth and dirt, the 
wrong in every act, 
You lived the small truth in 
life with the understanding fact 
that you give yourself to life.
Life is for living.
My contempt, my familiarity.
My conflict, my experience.
Look up not down -
Real beauty is in mens' action.
Self is lonely being.
Together is the being of living.
Conflict is oneself as well as other things.
To smile is the first chance of happiness.
Laughter has no language.
Life is living, it goes on.
Denis Maher


When mantle of night has fallen
and people lie abed,
Strange notions, thoughts and fantasies
Completely fill one's head.
The breeze that by day is a whisper
Can at night seem forlorn and long
Moaning its way through telegraph wire,
as though singing some ghostly song.
Rain beats on the window,
can that be the roar of the sea.?
Cold dark sky hurries on by
With not one star to see.
Now! was that the cry of midnight owl?
Or sound of lonely, wandering ghoul.
Then another sound the night assails
be feline species' plaintive wails
But secure and safe, within my own four walls
I meander slowly, into misty hall,
There to seek out Morpheus 'charms,
Then at last succumb to her welcome arms.

(John Brennan)


I found him squat where a dog affirmed its beat
Unconcerned with shoppers as they buy
And they with him reminding me of sheep
That go on grazing while another dies.
Sticky tape holds his second eyes in place
Beneath smashed lenses was cottonwool to blind
He's squinting, sly, one moment searched my face
Then returned to the deserts of his mind.
But is not the eye the window of the soul?
And in it I saw no love that binds
Man to man, for love's sap had turned to gall
And the withered branches to the light were blind.
Bowed and stunted not much more than dwarf
How they had savaged their race
Their grinding jaws wore their legs in half
Till scarce he peeps o'er backyard place
Perhaps one day some scourge
Or in him life's tuningfork was stale
Despised, degraded when he needed love
In every heart men had driven nails
Yet here perhaps from ambitions domes
Was poet, explored where the ice winds whirl
Or scholar gowned, statesman famous known
For the oyster must be coaxed to bloom its pearl.
When man walks so constant in a groove
His footsteps wear it to the deepest rut
There like the tapeworm never known to move
Scavenging the tubes in society's guts.
So helpless now he should be revered
The wing of clucking hen spread over him tight
At the sound of danger or imagined fears
To glide him towards his longest sleep.
It seems that childishness swifter comes
To some untaught whose minds have never flown
The skies of learning where dwells countless sums
That should sting to flight the cerebrums drones
Yet perhaps there is compensation there
When winter comes to those who meagre drink
For pity the erudite who is aware
His mind may arise to see his body sink.
Can you not hear the death hounds baying?
Soon they'll be slavering you cannot flee
So merciless think hangsman laying
Your diabolical trap, there's one for thee.
Now he rises like a new-born foal.
Lurching, staggering to find his feet
And parts the sea of faces as he crawls
Like a leper in an Eastern street.
Once he must have sucked a mother's breast
Some say they hover over us, ever involved
But if she is, and sees such distress
Her eyes must ,have bled till they're long since dissolved.
You poor little aged waif and stray
Shuffling few inches in full flight
You will never reach your lodge this day
That wells my eyes far into the night.
Frank Smith


Descending to me from generations past
Through feathery vapours of time
Time unimaginable
Since Adam
My blood was atoms
Floating amid the weathered waves of all 'that'
Then, like a dream
Descended into my living flesh.
The imprint of that - remains
On the still soft parchment that is my mind
Embedded like a curse yet warm
Guernica's angled lines of horror
Tear at the fragile tissue of my imagination
Man and Animal
Scream out of the canvas
Out of the soul
Out of that ripe seed of inspiration

-who has gained from his stay?

From his knowledge passed from..
womb to soul?
Or through passages as yet unknown to us.
Lady, accept this tear 
Borne from my soul 
like a quivering blues
where the mind deserts the body 
And soars like a gull 
Above the blackness of it all 
Fragile slave, accept this tear.
Colin Frame