Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Death in the family...

So, today there's the big auld enemy funeral down south... and much has already been written and said about the whole business. As I commented somewhere else, Thatcher died in my mind a long time ago (pretty much as soon as she was out of office in 1990) and I've really tried to think about her as little as possible since then. I know one thing though - for a lot of feminists in these countries (and I do still call myself that, if anyone asks...) it was a source of some sadness that our first woman prime minister was that bloody woman but then that's the deal... let women be as good (and as bad) as men... equal rights... equal opportunities... and after all most feminists aren't terribly keen on the whole idea of leadership anyway. It is largely feminist tendencies that have kept me away from the whole 'witch is dead' business too. I hated Mrs T but calling women witches is not something I want to get involved in really (and I'm quite surprised that I haven't read anything anywhere about that... I guess if you're that hated the rules change...). It's understandable but still not right, for me.
But I most definitely digress... because today we pay a lot of money for a big pompous ceremony that a lot of us don't want and, in particular, don't want to pay for (did someone make Thatcher royal without telling us because we do things like this for that lot all the time..?). I can't see how it is anything other than just plain wrong to be spending all that money on this day when so many cuts are being made in all areas of public life. Plus the one thing the political right always has is money (that's another deal - they get the money, we get the smug feelings associated with not being as greedy as they are... at least that's if it all goes to plan...). So let Rupert sodding Murdoch pay for this grand event, for example (because I seem to remember he did OK out of the Thatcher years). Let it be sponsored by Sky TV. I could play this game all day.
I don't have a Thatcher poem (now there's a relief). Mainly this is because I wasn't writing poems back in the '80s (apart from a sad love poem here and there...). I do, however, have a funeral poem. I wrote it after attending one of those funerals where nobody says what everybody is thinking ('this person was an arse/totally selfish/ horrible') but instead all the usual bland rest-in-peace malarkey. It isn't totally suitable for today (I don't think she did only care about herself, for example, that wasn't her driving power... that was more to do with her way, her philosophies, her just being right... also there will be people crying, I'm sure... people swathed in union jacks... talking about making Britain great and all that... see this for an alternative view) but the poem isn't totally irrelevant either. Someone died. It happens. Let's move on. Much to do.

A funeral affair

There must be lots of things to say
About you now you're gone away
But most of them might seem unkind
At least the ones that spring to mind
You were not fair or good or true
You only seemed to care for you
You showed no heart or sympathy
So let us end you honestly
No one will cry for you today
At most a little prayer they'll say
Perhaps they'll urge you try again
But for god's sake be still till then

RF 2007 or so


hope said...

I've also been to funerals where I wondered if I'd wandered into the wrong place. Odd how death raises some not very nice people to sainthood level.

Your poem put into words what I've thought more than once. Thanks for that.

And I agree, in this day and age of so many people in need, I feel like if someone wants a grand funeral, they should have planned it out and paid for it ahead of time. ;)

The Bug said...

Boy do I agree about the excess - ugh.

I love the poem - especially the part about keeping still. Because if they really ARE an arse aren't you always afraid that they're not really dead?

Rachel Fox said...

At least there was no 'protestor beaten to death' story or anything yesterday (related to this funeral anyway). I didn't watch any of it on TV (why would you?) but I did catch some of press coverage and found the focus on the Thatch grand-daughter beyond tiresome ('the new Pippa' etc.). That and coverage of what Samantha Cameron was wearing, ffs. And from papers that should know better too really (but often don't). Heavy sigh.

Rachel Fenton said...

There were some comments in the Guardian about the witch song - from feminists justifying its use.

I do think the protest song was important - when so much actual on the street protesting was not being filmed or photographed by media (Particularly the protesting durning ht actual funeral charade, sorry, parade), so the protest song - whatever you think of it - was the only publicly documented protest recorded for the history books. In a couple of generations, there'll be kids learning what a great leader Thatcher was (see, leader, PM, Thatcher - not a gender marker in sight) - and there needs to be a record that this was not the case.

I like your poem. "So let us end you honestly" is the stand out line, for me.

I did write a Thatcher poem, long time ago, but it got another airing.

There are times to be quietly "dignified" (how I detest that word), but Thatcher's funeral wasn't one of them.

Rachel Fox said...

I never said anything about being dignified about the funeral/death (though I know some did). I wasn't on the 'stay dignified' team at all. This is more to do with the history of women and witchiness... and also the fact that there are a lot of serious issues surrounding her 'reign' and I think that that particular song is too fun, too light-hearted, just wrong really. It's easy for people 'on the left' to look naive/silly and, for me, this song business was handing the opposition easy pickings. Yeh, that's right, a song from a kids' film... that's all we can manage. (OK, a great kids' film...).

I don't agree with you either that kids will only be learning good things about Mrs T in the future. Obviously I can't speak for NZ but here in the British Isles things like the Miners' Strike, the Wapping business, the Falklands have not been simplified in many parts of society (in fact most, I would say) and I don't see that changing (and here in Scotland... come 'freedom'... quite the opposite). Mind you, it always depends what papers you read, what news you watch or listen to. I make a point of keeping away from Murdoch matter and other friends of Margaret. It can still be done! Just...

She can be remembered for what she was - a ruthless right-wing leader, a champion for selfishness and, unfortunately perhaps, proof that women can be just as single-minded as men (but that that still doesn't make them witches).