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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 3, September 2018
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Claire Everett
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, UK


Our Colours to the Mast

And though she be but little, she is fierce.
—Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

a cobalt mine
in faraway Congo . . .
the breakfast news
and a small child's tears
in the palm of her hand

"It's hard to swallow the irony of it all . . ."

She's seated in the window's light with her new rose-gold phone case glinting as she taps her details into another online petition. Her thumb is emphatic, adding her name to the pledge, urging Microsoft, Apple, Samsung et al., to investigate their supply chains and smelters. A voice for those denied one. This is how we do things now.

It started with purple and the women of Britain who seized it from royal hands for their sash of suffrage. And more than a century later, it still speaks of dignity and loyalty, gleaming in the tricolour with the white of purity and the green of hope, teeming along city streets like so many spring flowers rippling in the wind.

Black is always a good fallback. A statement made in boldface that never goes out of fashion. We heard it holler "Free Choice!" in Poland and watched it swarm and smoke. On the red carpet it stole the show, names old and new rubbing shoulders, 21st-century feminist fatales whose svelte ensembles were more about hashtags than designer labels. Then the Democrat women of Congress picked up on Hollywood's cue. #TimeUp, #MeToo

"How do we look, Mr President?"

Perhaps red is the new black. With red robes and white winged bonnets, we don the Handmaid's garb to march against oppression, in the same way we raged under the banner of Period Poverty, brighter than the buses, through London's wintry gloom.

"How do we look, Prime Minister?"

Pink. Don't dismiss it. Think of it in terms of tax and pussy hats. See the posters and weep as #NiUnaMenos rolls off the tongue.

In orange we are hunters, demanding to be seen. Our quarry is a future free from gun violence.

"Hey, Mum!"

A news clip on her phone. On the atrium floor in the Hart Senate Office Building, gathered around Calder's "Mountain and Clouds," they’ve draped themselves in silver space blankets. They're six hundred strong and chanting "Abolish ICE!" "We care!" #WomenDisobey

her bill, yellower still
but the starling on her nest
mute as a stone—
silence has no season
in the human world


Author's Notes:

‪ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ‬‬

Naturalists have tended to focus on the vocalisations of male starlings, who sing all year round. Females are also singers, but during the spring and summer months (the time when they are breeding and raising young) they become completely silent.

The author urges readers to enter some of these hashtags into a search engine to read more about the protests that inspired or utilised them.

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