terça-feira, 25 de novembro de 2014
segunda-feira, 24 de novembro de 2014
domingo, 16 de novembro de 2014
sexta-feira, 7 de novembro de 2014
quarta-feira, 5 de novembro de 2014
movement is life
- slogan of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty, 1930‐1939
Hyde Park, 1936. Cold enough for scarves and hats
among the general populace, but not for the fifteen thousand women
from the League of Health and Beauty performing callisthenics
on the grass. It could be snowing, and they of Bromley‐Croydon,
Glasgow, Belfast, would don no more than a pair of satin knickers
and a sleeveless satin vest to spin and stretch and bow
the body beautiful. Athens in London, under a sodden sky,
and Winnie and Molly and Doris metamorphosed.
On the edge of the revolving staves of arms and legs,
pale as comfrey – an army not yet on the move but almost ready –
there are tents for scones and tea. Kiddies, brought to watch
in caps and plaits, wriggle on deckchairs. Their mothers
carry vast, forbidden handbags on their laps and smell
of Lily of the Valley. All around the periphery,
in the huddled clumps of overcoats and smoke,
from offices and railway yards, men joke and talk, gesticulate –
but mostly they just look, quietly and sharply focused,
like eyeing up the horses at a racecourse, but with much more choice.
For those crammed in steaming picturehouses later, a commentator,
brusquely charmed, declares the perfection of British womanhood:
to them belongs the future! – while the ghost of Mary Bagot Stack,
whose dream this is, smiles back. Their hair cut short, slim,
co‐ordinated as the League of German Maidens or a chorus set
from Hollywood, fit for birth, the women twirl and kick,
do foot‐swings and scissor‐jacks, link hands or fall
suddenly flat as pegs in a collapsible building, then bounce back
up again, for movement is life and they are keeping moving.
To hell with it, they may as well be saying. Twist.
To hell with Lizzie Evans and her bitching hate.
With blood and vinegar. With getting in the tin bath last.
With laddered stockings. With sore wrists at the factory.
I’ve got the fresh‐air‐body they promised me. Twist. Its electricity.
Parallax. Carcanet Press, Limited, 2013.