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  

constant instruction.


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.