The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd
My father’s horse is buried under the mosaic floor,
my siblings in the sad hollows
of the graveyard. On their birthdays
our mother honours sunrises they never saw
by wearing colour. Too much black worn in this age.
Sometimes I dream I am the horse.
I ascend through the floor,
unashamed of muscularity,
casting hues and plaster
like flour from my father’s wheel and
out. Oh, to run where I will, hair unbound,
clods undone beneath my tread.
I should not like to be bridled,
to be under the reins of any man.
Nor will I bear his children.
No, I shall leave spaces greening the future,
the muscle on my ring finger
and the bones
of my slack-corseted spine intact.
I shall leave the ballot slip
to those who sell their skin
to keep their flesh,
for women embroidering banners
by candlelight and those that come after.
Becky Cherriman a writer, workshop leader and performer who works part time in Creative Writing at the University of Leeds’ Lifelong Learning Centre. Her poetry publications include pamphlet Echolocation and collection Empires of Clay, and works in Mslexia, Stand, Bloodaxe, Seren, and The North. Her writing has also been recognised for awards such as the Forward and the Women’s Poetry Prize and commissioned by organisations and charities including BEAM, Imove, The Cultural Institute, and Morley, Humbermouth and Ilkley Literature festivals. www.beckycherriman.com
The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd by Becky Cherriman received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.