Steph Pike

Suffragette City


in Alexandra Park

young trees shivered with excitement

they wrote this in their rings;

how their leaves dappled the dawn-light

purple, green and white

to shield her coming and going

how the morning exploded

in a thousand diamante stars

and cactus spines rained up

to embroider ‘freedom’

on a sullen Manchester sky

how freedom made bold the hearts

of three women climbing gallery steps

skirts crackling with revolution

pockets deep with rage and rocks

how their missiles ricocheted round walls

daubed with men’s smug self-congratulation,

to change the course of his-story

to crack the future open for us all

a century and a continent away

you, female trinity, pussy riot

rip stagnant cathedral air

with punk-raw hymns of rebellion and defiance

until you are dragged to prison camps

and in your cells, through brutal frozen nights

know this; you are not forgotten

you will never be alone

because whenever and wherever

they try to bring a sister down

a million women rise