In memory of a young friend …

There’s chaos at the centre of the classroom
a big huddle, loud voices
Teenagers talking politics
Rachel making choices
Labour member, Corbynista
Feminist fighter, socialist sister
Equality champion, bigotry battler
Opposing racism, Black Lives Matter
Canvasser and whistle-blower
Demonstrator, meeting-goer

Indignant at suffering, sharply aware
That chances aren’t equal, that life isn’t fair
Angry at society’s intensive stress
Pressure to success, distress
For those whom Spector call
All the miserable girls
All the sad young men
So it happens again, and again
Like the Beatles’ Jude, with the world on your shoulders
Left our world a little colder

I see you, Rachel, in your family’s hearts
In status updates and photographs
I see you in the words you’d write
And in the characters you like
You’re in Katniss Everdeen, in Princess Leia
You’re in Rey, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
You’re the Rebel Rebel who raised her banner
Declared the Beatles better than Rihanna
Which, of course, is clearly true
Though your schoolmates didn’t agree with you!

Committed to sexual autonomy
When your mum mentioned LGB and T
You reminded her, “and Q-plus”
These things mean so much to us
Came to Legoland, sitting in our car
Teasing your dad, playing guitar
Slaves sang of the Sugar Coated Bitter Truth
You sang of the anger of dissatisfied youth
A voice for justice was your sound
As Spector say in Never Fade Away
One day it will turn around
One day it will turn around




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