Mandy Macdonald – carrying the banner

carrying the banner


well then      no choice:

you go forward, with your comrades

at times scarcely able to crawl

you are an ant, clutching between hard jaws

like a huge sail, a leaf twice your size

                   or a great yellow petal;

a mother cat, carrying her kittens

one after another from refuge to refuge –

what is there you have not carried

on your back and in your belly

caravel swollen with cargo?

brave little pennants

crow’s-nest high and fluttering

before the wind

                   like your hair ribbons

when you were ten and running to school

when you were ten and scared to be late

when you were ten and running for joy

with the wind tangled

in your hair ribbons


at times you break into a run, banners held high

and the throats of your comrades singing and shouting

like birds

like thunder

you are thousands and your strength is invincible


Mandy Macdonald is an Australian writer, translator and editor living in Aberdeen. She has been writing poems for as long as she can remember, but no-one else knew until very recently. She has had poems published in Poetry Scotland, Pushing Out the Boat, and Haiku Scotland. ‘Carrying the banner’ was originally written for the Feminists in Resistance in Honduras and has been published in the newsletter of the Central America Women’s Network.


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