From Mainland, 1974
Chris Searle was the teacher whose sacking for publishing his pupil’s poetry sparked the Stepney school kid’s strike in 1971.
The Fourth Quarter
From the cocoon breaks the monster,
The world lets him breathe again,
His poison falls back in the memory,
He breaks the day, the noon darkens.
Now is the fourth quarter:
The century ends that promised us equity.
The winds sweep through the branches,
The leaves rustle with warnings.
The crosses clank on the national flag,
Their clangs make the sound of marching iron.
To the beat of chauvinism and voracious nostalgia
The fascists reassemble.
Their white slogans wave in our streets,
Their scientists move to prove their prejudices
With synthetic fact, designed for genocide.
The beasts are rampant in Chile:
Their allies move in the British cadres,
Planning their hatred in army words –
Now is the calling,
The time of dithering is done,
The here, the now, the us!
We, who have lived the guise, beguiled by security,
Fooled by the affluence of the skin,
Know the facade drops away, reality tightens.
We, who have waited this calling,
We the readers, the rockers
We the teds, the demonstrators,
We the banners, the mods,
We the marchers, the skinheads,
We the hippies, the hooligans,
We, the waiting generations,
The diverted ones, the untried ones,
The pawns of mode, the children of welfare:
Throw away your shades, move with your brothers –
The time of dithering is done!