Elizabeth (2nd go)

April 13, 2007

I don’t want fame
impossible to say and not sound false
but I never did and just as well,
I don’t expect
you’ll know too much about me now.
Doesn’t matter-
never wanted fame
fame was never what we
ever cared about. We wanted-
justice.

In the eyes of God all men are equal.
Ha – all men, not
all wo-men
and not jews
and not blacks.
We knew a bit about oppression,
we knew a bit about
second. So, no –
fame? it never really
had a chance. We wanted-
freedom.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Must slow down. My name,
is Elizabeth-
Elizabeth Heyrick, wife of John,
John who never did a great deal
worthy of distinction – still,
not a bad man, Mr Heyrick-
John – dead now. Died 8 years on,
into our marriage, left us childless,
but perhaps for the best now
Perhaps none of this
would’ve happened,
if John had hung around.

Dear John,
It’s Elizabeth, your little Dove,
John, I’m dead now,
but thought I’d write and tell you
what’s been going on.

My name,
is Elizabeth-
Elizabeth Heyrick,
Born in Leicester, 1769.
You won’t know me
Don’t be embarrassed,
we’ve never met-
you might know William though –
William Wilberforce?
-yes.

William Wilberforce:
Born the same year as me,
Politician, philanthropist
and abolitionist.
Leader of the
parliamentary campaign
against the trade in slaves.
Didn’t much like me.

William, he wanted to take things-
slowly. Just the trade in slaves.
For now. But he didn’t get
the urgency. He’d never been
forced to sit in church
with his head down-
forced to marry a man
twice, thrice, four times old.
He never knew,
what it was like
not to have the vote.

William. When I wrote my
seminal, Immediate
not Gradual Abolition

(you remember the pamphlet-back in 1824)
Do you remember what you did?
William-
you told your society men
not to come to us
to speak

William, do you remember?
You tried to block the
distribution
of my pamphlet.
What were your words…?

‘For ladies
to meet, to publish,
to go from house to house
stirring up petitions –
these appear to me to be
proceedings
entirely unsuited
to the female disposition’

So said a man
against slavery-
but not above oppression

Dear John.
When all was said and done
We had lots of money.
We were 73 different cells
strung across the country
and all together,
we bank rolled
William’s party

Guess what we did?
We didn’t beg
we didn’t plead
we didn’t use our
female ways, we-
pointed to the brass-
and William buckled

In the year of Williams passing
the bill appeared in Parliament-
forced by woman

John.
I didn’t live to see
the end of slavery-
finally abolished in 1833.
I died in 31-
Just too early

Still-
We never wanted fame,
We wanted Justice
We wanted Freedom
We wanted liberation.
It’s not the end
but we’ve made a start-

haven’t we?

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