I had drunk so much coffee I was shivering as if something
inside of me was about to go off I stopped to stare
out of the window watched a plane fly over so loud it frightened me
reminded me of the fear of a nuclear attack which is as real to me now
as it was when I was a child

the phone rings telling me I can get solar panels and later another
about a new boiler paid for by the government the government.
the one that doesn’t care about people dying from poverty
and humiliation old people who are starving can’t heat their homes
single mothers who have no one to look after their children

while they are working unable to progress past sixteen hours
people with learning difficulties whose families can’t cope with them
at home with no break the nurses who get paid less than politicians
girls working in shops and cafes on the minimum wage who can’t afford
a house men in low paid jobs who are told be grateful so they go home

feeling small it’s always the children who suffer my husband comes home
doesn’t ask how I am disappears upstairs keeps busy the washing still out
on the line in the rain for three days but in three days things will have changed
again I might be in a better mood I might not be scared of a nuclear attack
or worry about all the things in the world that I cannot change.


Arwen Webb co-founded Richmondshire Writers in 2013 so she could meet other writers living in the local area. She has an MPhil in Criminological Research from Cambridge University but teaches a range of subjects in adult education from English Literature to creative writing, Sociology and, of course, Criminology. Arwen wishes to acknowledge Jane Burn for her editorial support with the poem.


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