These are our caring arms:
the power of prose;
the intensity of poetry.
We bury ourselves in words,
then pull ourselves back to life through them;
haul the narrative threads of stories
round us to keep out the chill –
that ice-wind of censorship.
This simple act:
ink on paper, is capable
of lighting a lantern
in someone’s head.
That lit mind can explore the world:
imagined and real;
forbidden and familiar.
How brave can you be?
How brave would you be?
If, whenever you reached out
to write, to read
– someone put a gun to your head?
All hail to Malala Yousafzai
whose skull head-butted the bullet
of extremism away.
Let me hear it – how many of us
will fight alongside Malala, brandishing
our pens as swords – for that essential life-breath:
of education, of words,
of this, the simplest ever artform
– a cheap pencil, a scrap of paper,
and an imagination bigger than a zillion universes.
Let me hear you! Let me hear you!
Char March has won awards for poetry, short fiction, and as a playwright. Her credits include: five poetry collections including The Thousand Natural Shocks, six BBC Radio 4 plays, and seven stage plays.
Her short story collection, ‘Something Vital Fell Through’, is thirteen competition and award-winning stories published by Indigo Dreams.
She lives in the Yorkshire Pennines and the Scottish Highlands and has been active in the Disability Politics Movement throughout her adult life.