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Dinosaurs

September 19, 2016

By Marilyn Longstaff

working from the first line ‘I lived in those times’ from Epitaph by Robert Desnos

We lived in those times of grants and fees paid
we ordinary girls from poor backgrounds;
post-war optimism, the baby-boomers;
we National-Healthy girls who went
to new and red-brick universities,
each outnumbered five to one by men.
                  And we weren’t grateful.
And lots of us made our own clothes:
psychedelic mini-skirts, velvet loons.

We lived in those times of student revolution,
a girl on our corridor hanged herself one morning –
after her year in France, the Paris riots –
while we were sitting in The Great Hall,
storming the Administration, colonising
the Vice-Chancellor’s office – that time of
free discos, walks back to digs at daybreak,
threats that we’d all be sent down.

How lucky we were and we didn’t know it,
plenty of jobs, cheap flats, no loans, no debt
to hang round our middle-aged necks.
We dinosaurs.

© Marilyn Longstaff

Dinosaurs is the winning poem in the Poetry & Politics competition.