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Blind March to London, April 5th – 25th 1920 (‘Social Justice Not Charity’) by Lydia Kennaway

Long listed for the WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition run in July & August 2021

That clink must be hobnails. Dawson’s, I reckon. 
The jingle is coins in a pocket, or keys. And the off- 
beat k-tunk will be Shaw with his limp and his clogs. 
But mostly it’s boots. We know all about boots.

Every day in the workshop means boot-mending, 
brush-making, baskets and boredom.
‘When I consider how my light is spent...’
I loved Milton, even before the accident.

What’s that, Billy? Yes, London’s bigger than Leeds. 
Keep it up, lad, only five more days to go.

I was quick enough with the Braille until ‘handiwork’ 
roughened my fingertips. Now every word’s a blur.

They say The Blind as though we’re all the same.
But I can play a moving picture in my head: the long view 
from Pen-Y-Ghent, a Red Kite hanging in the sky,
my wife’s eyes when she turns to me.

Shaw’s world is all passing lights, says
he can make them dance with a flick of his hand. 
Billy here knows only the dark, but when a brass band 
came to play, he saw spectacular splashes of colour,

called them out, sure as could be: Red! Orange! Green! 
Onto a bridleway now, trickier underfoot. But quieter, too.

Hush, Billy, hush! That hu-hu is an owl. Of course
I remember: face like a plate, but when it’s airborne 
it’s all swoop and grace. Woodwind notes.
Blue, you say? Well, who could argue? Blue it is.

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud, for a chance to win a prize. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Read more from the Long List of stories submitted to the WRITE ABOUT WALKING & LISTENING competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 26 September 2021 book here.

Lydia Kennaway

Lydia Kennaway

Lydia Kennaway’s debut poetry pamphlet, 'A History of Walking', was published by HappenStance Press in April 2019 and reprinted in November 2019. She earned an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University in 2019, winning the Academic Prize for Best Ov...

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