What makes a Rebel?

What makes a Rebel?


Minute by minute,

tip toeing towards change.

Conscience nudged forward   

by a father on strike.

Scrambled eggs again for tea.


Age fifteen.

Innocence lost

to a dead eyed glance

from the cardboard elegance

on Glasgow’s mean streets.

Pause for five minutes.

Share a word, a smile

with those who wait for the day

when someone recognises them

as a son, a daughter.


Age twenty one.

Step over the unbound lepers

on the streets of Addis Ababa.              

Wounds soothed at night

as hyenas scavenge outside.


Dawn chorus of the abandoned and orphaned  

from their cardboard nest in the bus shelter.

Chirp for food to ease swollen bellies.

One brave soul sneaks his hand into mine.

Another asks about faraway lands.

The silent one holds onto my dress.


Ethiopian  youth meetings

on hot Wednesday afternoons.

Sixty minutes to spread hatred.

Forgot to hide.

Dragged by the hair, by ignorance, 

by those I had taught in the morning.


Marched in anger, sister to sister

when America built Faslane.

Screamed louder when submarines

slipped into the Holy Loch.

Camped for thirty one years.

Still they furrow their way down the loch.



Raise a banner in Dam square.

Shout my anger at the arrogance

of a president treading an unholy path


trees dressed in yellow ribbons,

coffins decorated by stars and stripes,

widows bathed in black.


Told to fold the banner.

Told to toe the line.

Told my children will know hunger.

Told our fate lies in cardboard city.


Raise my voice louder.

Raise my head and sing.

Raise my children to know of those who cannot.

Raise awareness of how we can be the change.

rebellion, raising voices, defiance