The National Centre for Writing is thrilled to support the national Living Wage Campaign for another year by commissioning a poem from writer and researcher Shannon Clinton-Copeland.
Living Wage Week is Monday 14 – Sunday 20 November and you can read, or take a listen, to Shannon’s poem below.
Need goes in the washing machine
with a spoonful of Vanish and an inquiry.
It has not been clean for years – used
to sop up watered milk, I can still see
the war in it, the final portcullis
of a shopping basket. It is time to refresh.
A mother will not weep for the cost
of a cinema ticket. It will not be
bread, butter / young life for her daughter.
The mad hunt for stability wanes.
This place has good light and at night,
she no longer weighs unreal wages in
tired hands on Indeed.
Need comes out of the machine. It looks
very real, pretty clean. She switches on the light
to admire the colour, for once
does not worry about its cost relative
to a basket of goods, to a week of food. Work, now, is different.
Like a magic trick, click – from something dark
to something … good.
Shannon Clinton-Copeland is a writer, poet and researcher. Born in London but raised in Ireland and of Jamaican-Irish descent, she sees writing as a method of bridging cultural, historical and personal divides. She studied English Literature with Creative Writing at UEA and is reading for a masters in Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures. When she isn’t writing or trying to decipher early modern handwriting, she is a member of Norwich Theatre’s Creative Advisory Group, a creative freelancer and Managing Editor of Leapfrog Press. Her work has been published by Bandit Fiction, Leslie Magazine and The Rialto.
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