Poppy Damon


First read at Cambridge Reclaim the Night, March 2014

I was always a feminist.
The word was always tumbling
out of my mouth
not shrouded in shame or doubt
in my house.

It was nothing particularly profound
The sound of the word …feminism.
I wore it like a badge of honour;
strolling through school halls
standing tall.
I hung out with a girl with pink hair,
we read Plath behind the bike sheds
and Greer, even the naughty bits.
I was always a feminist.

Shouting out patriarchs
with one arch of my eye brow.
It slipped off my tongue
since I was young,
you heard it before you saw me,
it sprung and stepped and sawed.
And I am proud to say
I was always a feminist.

Sometimes I thought my mother must have grown bored
hearing me make the same discoveries she’d worn
30 years before.
The same battles and same scorn
because we are all feminists.
She said.

Then, I came to University
and man,
Freshers’ weak was bleak,
seeped in sexual double standards
and demands we couldn’t meet.
Had to find my feet,
treat it differently.
Take a seat.
And tell myself,
‘I am a feminist.’
No matter what they say.

But when I came to Reclaim The Night
Something like a spark ignited,
brightened my perspective
and possibilities,
a stress was lifted
that profoundly impressed
on my chest.

Pulsing through my skin with a vibrants
and a brilliance
finding a new resilience.
in the dim light,
Reclaiming, as we did, the night.
Looking at the beams,
swapping hymn books for dreams,
Poetry and speeches,
it brims with the fight.

But We reclaimed the word feminism.
Took it with new meaning and with new feeling
Seeing the women pacing as they were,
pulsating through the streets.
I was always a feminist
but this time I felt it in my blood.
Hearing our chants through the cobbled streets,
the stamp of the feet, each fighting for heat
in the cold. ‘United, never defeated’
These were victory chants.
And though I may not be young forever
may not be here forever,
I will always be a feminist.
We’ll always be united together.