Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FOURTEEN – Sara Dennis

The Whistle Factory

At the whistle factory
The big work whistle was blown
Halting production.
As the big boss spoke,
The machines whirred
A sad glissando
Down the scale

And then he spoke:
‘Whistles are no longer required.
There is no longer anybody to blow them to,
There is nobody willing to listen.
It is too dangerous in these new times.
Anybody blowing a whistle
Will be removed from whatever post they hold.
In whatever profession
In whatever walk of life.
The whistle is now a weapon
More dangerous than a gun’.

‘You can have my whistle’
Hollered a worker at the back
‘When you pry it from my cold, dead hands’
Half the floor cheered
Half the floor were silent.
And the worker was removed.

Their only job now
Was to dismantle the machinery
That had taken many years to build
To undo that which has provided
For generations of people
Turn back the clock,
Retreat into darkness.
Back to the breadline
Queuing for food,
Begging for work
Wearing ancient sandwich boards.
Their rights denied
The promise broken
The dream, over.

Away from the city
A man sits at a rock
And carves a whistle from wood
Taken from a tree on the plain
With the tools his grandfather gave him.
It was a tradition passed down
From his ancestors
Who had called this place home
For many moons
And had fought terrorism
Since 1492.
And when he had finished,
He examined his work
Ran his fingers along the smooth finish
Put the whistle to his lips,
And blew.



Sara Dennis is a musician and writer from Guisborough. Her lyrics, poetry and prose, has been published in literary magazines Beautiful Scruffiness, The Black Light Engine Room and book The Eye of Temenos: Reflections on Sacred Space, published by Ek Zuban. Sara has released two solo albums of contemporary original and traditional folk music and one, Northern Lines with her band, Peg Powler. She curates Folklines, a contemporary folk and roots music and spoken word event in Middlesbrough.

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