She lived in a neat world,
Hair just right, jewellery just so,
Clothes freshly washed, shoes unscuffed,
Each morning she had a shower –
Each evening a bath.
Her house had smart furniture,
The carpet was immaculate,
The garden tidy –
It was a spotless, self-disciplined little world.
Her friends were respectable and she thought clean, neat thoughts
She’d inherited from her parents,
Like the pot-plants.
There was no room for doubt,
Just crystal-clear certainty delivered in a crisp, thin-lipped voice
As she looked down her nose.
No room for immigrants,
God was a Christian,
Change was unwelcome
And women had a clear role.
It was O.K to fiddle the taxes,
The law was always right,
Children were lovely (when your own),
Life was as it should be and she held a respectable position within that life.
One day, however, someone pushed her against a ‘wall’
And a well of rage beat up within her clear, neat boundaries:
Try as she might, pushing it all back in,
She’d unleashed a demon that her friends noticed straight away.
Between them they forced it down again,
Channelling their hate into whatever was close to hand –
This race, that country, those neighbours –
And helped her paint her thin, respectable smile back on once again.
It was their little secret,
A ripple in a pool that didn’t want to be disturbed.
Are these types still around?