I dangled, teasing, out of reach
a longed-for but forbidden peach,
guarded close with jealous care
to starve their worth and stem their speech;
The prize to win, the flag to bear,
the ticket to a better fair;
no woman’s land, possessed and mined,
the word forced through resisting air;
The cause which roused and intertwined
the distaff side of humankind
which spun lives ells and years apart
into a thread which won’t unwind.
Won messily, by bit and part,
by cool head and by raging heart.
No cure-all magic treasure chart:
I am the vote. I am a start.
© Gwen Seabourne
Emily Wilding Davison
Gwen Seabourne is a university lecturer specialising in law and history. She also likes to write poems and has had a number published in various collections and magazines and on BBC R4 Poetry Please. She is part of a team organising events to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 suffrage campaigns. See http://vifgage.blogs.ilrt.org/