Char March – The Presiding Officer’s choice of clothing narrows

The Presiding Officer’s choice of clothing narrows

(after Baudelaire – and the bible)


One should always be purple.  Purple in face and purple in prose.  Purple in lies and purple in gestures.  Purple in asides designed for the press to hear and for you to deny, laughing in that purple way of yours.  You should always drink purple beer and pretend you didn’t go to a non-purple school.  You should never mention your huge non-purple bank balance, but get down there with the eager purples who hang on your every purple word and then run off gasping purple elation and purple praise and purple obedience.  Seeing your purpleness mirrored in every purple tabloid headline and, gasping purple bile, the purple will kick purple into all the non-purples until they are either fully purple or fully kicked out of this purple land.  And the non-purples shall thus fade into the non-purple oblivion of being non-purple somewhere else – in a non-purple place that purples don’t want anything from but purpley cheap things.  All hail to the purples for they shall inherit the purple land and the purple water and the purple air and all will be purple forever and ever purple.

Char March – Titanium Plate

Titanium plate

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.