Neu! Boots Are Made For Walking DAY TWENTY-SEVEN – Arwen Webb


1981: CND rally

I wore my badge the one from Fylingdales with satellite elephant
heads the streets were full of people thousands of mothers fathers
children I saw boats on the Thames Nelson’s royal column fountains
of young men and women sharing the fear of a nuclear future

boys wore white jeans with black braces punks rockers from
Birmingham Glasgow Hull the Communist Party the National Union
of Teachers men dressed up as clowns in suits flat-caps guitars
tambourines harmonicas everyone looking at everyone else smiling

scared my feet sore from walking lines of police waiting watching us
watch them as we march slowly deliberately with the Salvation
Army a rope separates us from the city behind me a man is pushing
a crying baby she holds a CND balloon another man waves a sign

History is Full of Mistakes Only One Nuclear Mistake Can End History
I think this is the end here now in Trafalgar on this cold war day
it could happen this afternoon among the chanting the megaphones
the deafening traffic hour after hour on the road

to Hyde Park where we will celebrate the end of humanity with
banners and balloons a woman speaks from a podium she says
a nuclear blast will kill us all instantly it will blow our clothes
off if you look at the flash from five miles away your eyes will melt

your chances of survival are slim later you will die from radiation
sickness I see a huge crater red buses blasting into clouds bombed
buildings naked people crawling vomiting blood I look up
to the circling sky her voice echoes through the microphone

if you are not frightened now in this moment you are psychologically
ill I want my Dad to take my nine-year old body into his arms
instead he holds me up so I can see all the people in this world
who are preparing to die protesting to survive.


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  from English Literature to creative writing, Sociology and Criminology.

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