At our meeting on 17th July 2018, Lockerbie Writers wrote short pieces to the prompt, “Suffragette”. The history of the suffragettes has, of course, been much discussed recently since 2018 marks one-hundred years since women won the right to vote, and the group were keen to take on this topical subject in their writing. As always, they didn’t fail to disappoint with the variety of approaches taken in exploring this fascinating topic.
I am delighted to be able to share some of these responses with you here.
Trouble to Change by Rita Dalgliesh
Realistically it means jeopardy; these changes that they seek,
Everybody’s wrong but them; havoc’s the game; subservient shame,
Best leave them all, too good in goal, till they cross the line; media time.
Everyone may join the cause, equality to provoke a vote in mind,
Long hours of plan and protest; punishments fit the crime.
Later are developments; progress; persistence in this instance
Implicated in every walk of life; are those who fought for what is right
Outcasts for the duration; what degradation now embraces nations?
Unsung heroes of liberty, recognition and resolution; adorn a sash; march…
See all that’s grown from wrestled foes to benefit our lives.
Are You Going On The March Tomorrow by Betsy Henderson
“Are you going on the march tomorrow?” Jane peered at her friend, Nettie. “Mrs Parkhurst is going to be there.”
Nettie faltered. “I don’t know, I might not be able to get away.”
“But you were so keen! What’s changed?” Jane knew what had changed. Nettie was afraid of what her husband might do. He was a bully and a coward. He took pleasure in belittling his wife and she just let him. He made Jane so angry.
“Don’t you see you’re just playing into his hands? You’ll never be able to live your own life if you let him tell you what to do. If you had a vote you could help to change how women like you are treated.”
“I know, I know! It’s easy for you to talk. You don’t know what he’s like.” Nettie was almost screaming now, the tears streaming down her face, the sobs racking her whole body. She was so frustrated. She knew what she should do, but finding the courage to do it was a different matter.
“I’ll try and get away. If I can I’ll meet you at the corner of Bank Street about two o’clock.”
“OK.” Jane suddenly felt sorry for her friend. She really had no idea what Gordon was like. She knew he was abusive from what her friend had told her but she had no idea how bad he really was. For all she knew, he might even be capable of murder.
As the night progressed, Nettie became more and more nervous. All she could think about was the march the following day and how she could get out of the house without Gordon finding out. As it turned out, it wasn’t that difficult. At one o’clock he informed her he was going out to meet his friends in the pub.
“I’ll be back by six o’clock,” he told her. “Make sure my dinner is ready.”
When he had left, she ran about in a frenzy, peeling potatoes and veg and putting some meat in the oven. She quickly got changed and put a scarf over her face in an attempt to disguise herself. She prayed she wouldn’t meet anyone she knew. God knows what would happen if she did.
She rushed out of the house at ten minutes to two, her heart thumping ten to the dozen. She was absolutely terrified, but this was something she really wanted to do, something she really believed in. She reached the corner of Bank Street with one minute to spare. Jane was hovering behind a lamppost, trying to look inconspicuous. “Well done,” she smiled at her friend. “I knew you could do it.”
As they set off towards the High Street, the two women hugged each other. Little did they know then that what was about to happen would change the whole course of history.
Suffragette by Chris Openshaw
(Scanned into the computer from Chris’s original piece)