Ruth Walters (London, U.K.)
A silent rebel.
She was always rebellious but never rebelled,
it was all in her head.
Resentment was hers to own
and she did, on a daily basis.
Repression was an unwanted gift
that she sat on as though it were sharp
You could see the look of irritation
on her sweet, knowing face.
Consolation was the stage,
she would shine there, be anyone she chose
in any costume with any slant
she cared to throw upon the script.
At school she was the devil.
She never spoke up but wrote fervent notes
which she would dart you with
about the horrid Mrs Swift,
or Mr Ferguson, who swayed to and fro
while teaching religion and pause
far too long before his next,
infuriatingly lengthy line.
You could grow old and die,
listening to his droning but listen you would
or God would reap vengeance on you -
strike you down with thunderbolts.
She didn’t believe any of it, of course,
and would giggle behind her desk
sucking Toffee Mints
that did little for her teeth.
We loved her, of course, admired her gall,
her splendid attitude towards authority
and when I grew up, I too
became a silent rebel.
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