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Thursday, 1 December 2011


Our parents lived through wars
knew bloodshed, hardship
the meaning of work
and of no work
empty grates in cold houses

We were well fed
taught in schools
warmed in higher
education, protested
against colonialism,
unemployment, apartheid,
all kinds of discrimination
chose public service
to give something back

Even in good times we
made no fortunes
no flash cars or
holidays in Barbados
kids at local schools
we were governors
PTA members
community people

We put away those placards
lapel badges and clenched fists
with the ration books
and the old army pictures
thinking they belonged
to another age
another existence
never to return

But today we reached
back in time to smell fear
and  the enemy’s
cold breath
and we marched
once more
like soldiers
like students
like workers.

© David Subacchi

As it happened: National strike
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. He hopes to publish his first English collection in 2012.


  1. An excellent write David, and although I agree with the entire sentiments of the poem, I would focus on the undeniable fact that public sector workers were ‘promised’ (“Craig Johnson, regional organiser for the RMT union in the north east of England, says that part of the settlement that you make when you are a public sector worker is that you get a reasonable pension - "not something that is excessive, but something that will look after you into retirement and into old age".”) a good pension and it appears that this agreement is to be reneged on. There are two sides to this coin.

    The world moves on and things change – not always for the best – and we are in the depths of a global depression, perhaps public sector pensions are (for now) sustainable – I do not know, as of course opinions gathered from diverse sources always differ. Nevertheless the argument “We shall have to work longer, pay more for less” represents the unfairness of public/private sector pensions. Indeed, turning this statement on its head and saying “We pay less, retire sooner and get more” (than those in the private sector) sheds a different light on the subject.

    If I worked in the public sector it is highly probable that I would be a striker, but I do not and therefore see the perceived injustice of the private sector worker who has never had the promise of a reasonable pension, much subsidised by the tax payer. (Oh that I had!)

    Anna :o]

  2. Thanks for taking the trouble to comment Anna and I understand fully how you feel.

    At the heart of my poem is the feeling that we are being driven back in time to fight and protest after many years of moderation. So feelings are running very high.