365 Poems – 154 Grangetown girl doing her bit (Rough First Draft)
Grangetown Girl Doing Her Bit
They said on letters and posters,
on the wireless too, that minor accidents
could delay our contribution to the war,
and that we’re to use Vaseline
petroleum jelly on all sore parts.
Don’t they know about children?
About little, sharp nails and quick,
stick fingers? Don’t they know
about pans spitting back fat,
or the floor right after cleaning?
Don’t they know we’ve to get up
on ladders, and wash front windows
on tip toes to get high enough?
Don’t they know about electric
shocks or hot, hot water for washing up?
None of the injuries we women
obtain are caused by what they say
is lack of forethought.
The government are lecturing us
like we don’t know how to mother,
or how to live without receiving
We’re building ships, us women.
Aircraft and tanks. We’re operating
blast furnaces, running farms and staying
perfectly calm as air raid wardens.
While we’re doing all of this, serving
as the main artery of Middlesbrough.
we’re still being true mothers.
3rd September, 1939 and the kids are off,
past the Cleveland Hills, where
Middlesbrough crept from, to the
North Riding of Yorkshire. They see
it as a bit of an adventure.
But they’re home soon enough,.
Family bonds are stronger than the
threat of German bombers.
And we women are still hammering,
cleaning and cooking, fucking,
shopping and blocking out light,
roaring our battle cries and occupying
our place with ferocious femaleness.