Merry Cross

A long-time #disability activist and member of Disabled People Against Cuts (#DPAC). She has always written poetry and recently had her first one published in Corona Verses: Poems from the Pandemic.


15th April 2020


Protect yourself and others

Protect yourself and others.

It’s simple.

Wear gloves and a mask and wash your hands when you get home.

Protect yourself and others.

It’s simple.

Except when masks and gloves

Are rare as hens’ teeth to buy online or anywhere.

Protect yourself and others.

It’s simple.

Unless you are disabled

And depend on carers for whom

masks and gloves are rare as hens’ teeth to buy online or anywhere.

Protect yourself and others.

It’s simple.

Unless you are disabled

And depend on carers for whom

masks and gloves are rare as hens’ teeth to buy online or anywhere.

But even should they find it your carers can’t afford to pay for PPE

And nor can you, on your meagre benefits.

So your choice is simple too; risk it or starve. Risk it or get really dirty.

Johnson said we are leading the world in our fight with Covid-19.

It’s true. Leading the world to hell

Unless you are well

And very, very rich.


1st May


We should have seen it coming.


Our governments have always been war-mongers

Happy to kill Others

So we should have seen it coming

The day this bloodlust would turn inwards

Turn to killing our own

Turn to contempt for us,

Its citizens and those who care for us.

Our governments have always pretended we

Were better than Others

So we should have seen it coming,

The day they’d be pretending to protect us

From the Covid killer

Despite the warnings loud and clear

By Other experts, round the globe

And on this day, when lives of doctors

Nurses, carers, seem to count for nothing

We should have seen it coming

That we disabled folk would fade from view

As councils drop us like hot coals

From Care Act duties

With Government permission.

So they’ve announced the

We Don’t Care Act 2020; for disabled folk

No help with food, nor benefits raise;

No ventilator treatment despite need

No decency, just DNRs we’re made to sign.

We should have seen it coming. Maybe we did, maybe we did, I think WE did.


12th May


LOOK TO THE LOWLY

My friends are poor;

Asylum seekers get so little.

But when a charity gave them chicken last week

They passed it to their neighbour

Who had only sandwiches to eat……….

Look to the lowly

For inspiration,

Not those who’ve never had to fight.

Look to the lonely

For education

Not those whose social life is bright.

Look to the lost

For orientation

Not those who’ve always had their place.

Look to the weak

For cooperation

Not those whose strength lacks any grace.

Be smarter now there’s lockdown

Drop your gaze from those on high

For love and life and learning

Sit down here, not in the sky.


9th June 2020


I am the mother of black twins. It was the morning after the first riots in America, following the murder of George Floyd. One of the twins came downstairs looking truly miserable, so I asked "Is it about what is happening in America?" It prompted an angry, but also tearful outburst about the fact that police #racism and violence is bad here too. 'Don't you know' they (preferred pronoun) asked, 'that deaths of black people in custody here, per capita, are worse than in the U.S?' And I didn't.


I did know that they had once been on the receiving end of police violence during a perfectly peaceful demonstration, but not the full extent of it. I knew they had been dragged by their hair. I didn't know that they had then been pushed to the floor and the policeman had pinned them there with his knee in their back. Are they tall and scary? No they are a tiny 4'11"


What I also knew, because the police had taken them to court and I was there, was that they had been described as 5'6" with spiky hair. Utter nonsense. But it was a perfect example of the police having soaked up the Angry Black Woman trope. The case came to nothing.


Again, I knew about our slave trade; I knew that there were black men and women who were hugely influential in ending the slave trade here, but who are never mentioned (I learnt this from a David Olusoga programme) not just William Wilberforce ; I knew that Bristol had a massive role in the slave trade. I did not know that there had been numerous requests, petitions and campaigns to have the statue of Colston removed and all had been ignored. So when I found out and saw it pulled down and rolled into the very harbour where his ships full of slaves had docked, I cried at the poetic justice.


Until we come out of our collective denial and acknowledge the racism that is sewn into the fabric of our justice, housing, education and health systems, something we white folk have to do; until we respond to democratic and respectful requests to alter our racist ways, we will have to expect more demonstrations and violence.


As a 70 year old who is self isolating whilst waiting for an operation, I was terrified by the thousands of people marching together, so many without even masks, but I was - and remain - sad, not angry, at least not with them.


17th June 2020


Comfort Your Hearts


Comfort your hearts, dear friends,

In these troubled times.

Revel in your memories of love,

of beauty, friendship and wonder.


I recall with greatest joy

My tumbling twins as little ones;

Climbing anything that challenged them,

Creators of endless smiles.


I recall with greatest joy

The sight and scent of frangipani;

Huge but perfect white and yellow blossoms

Fragrancing Mombasa’s air.


I recall with greatest joy

Eager, upturned faces of children I taught;

Their cheek and laughter overlying

Truly kind and helpful hearts.


And I recall with greatest joy,

this song from Greenham Common days.

‘You can forbid nearly everything

But you can’t forbid me to think.

You can’t forbid my tears to flow

and you can’t stop my voice when I sing.


Comfort your hearts, dear friends,

In these troubled times.


19th June 2020


TEST AND TRACK


We’ll test and track

Do slap our backs

Cos ours will be the best.

We’ll track and trace

Yet face disgrace

For …it will fail the test (and track)


We’ll spend, spend, spend

Till the bitter end

On greedy private scams.

We’ll thank our staff

Just for a laugh

Then…send them on their way (peanuts pay).