A short while ago in a place close to home, there was a storm in the city
A rat who crawled out and defied convention
The sneak’s cries rang out above the rest - over fruit seller’s, police men
She wasn’t a merchant nor any of those, she screamed out of hope (she screamed out of fear)
She was a dreamer you see, born ‘neath the green London smog
And every time she spied out of a factr’y window that spilled golden sunshine in her eyes
When she closed those dusty lids of hers, head hitting the sodden pillow
A dream came to her of outrage and adventure, more alive in an hour than in a lifetime of toil
She was a pirate and a chieftain, an explorer and an actress sailing the seven seas and not once looking back
The boss, he awoke her from a stupor one day, said “This fine company’s not for dreamers like you”
Chucked her out on the street with the refuse and vermin; scrambled straight to the poor house did she -
Faces there scummy with disease, rotting carcasses devoid of all dreams
They were leashed like dogs and slaves to their wages, persuaded dreams were just time wasted
Forgotten how to laugh and forgotten how to sing, she knew she couldn’t spend a moment like them
She ran and ran and ran ‘till she near fainted and bartered aboard a vessel on the Thames
From there she sailed ‘cross the known world, first the fjords and purest of
Clambered over peaks, dived into the crystals, felt goosebumbs on her skin while she swam through the frost
Borrowed a bicycle and rode it to Paris, lounged in the sun on the delicate
Sacre Coeur was singing and she sang too ‘till her throat was red raw, though the feeling felt alive
She tricked the driver and boarded a steam train, hid with the cargo and
mocked all the passengers
Didn’t know where it was going ‘till it took her to Moscow and dropped her
beside the most colourful church
She let the sweet Russian summer wash right over and strolled about the city without a care
Then she was off to Siberia to see what she could see, she crossed the great plateau and ran away to China
She built a hot air balloon out of bamboo, with welts on her hands and sweat on her forehead (this work was hers and not for a man’s profit)
She flew to India on her craft, spotted a tigress in the long grass. Dined
with charming princes on golden terraces -
The beauty and camaraderie and fantasy all enchanted her. Yet that’s when she knew - they were after her
Their Empire invaded her innermost dreams, they’d tracked her down from her conspicuous trail
They wanted her dead, her treacherous head on a silver platter
She didn’t mind that, the chase was invigorating. She just ran and ran and
ran; this time she wouldn’t faint
Blisters on her feet and the wind in her hair, pursued through the deserts
and onto the plains; what beauty she’d never even dreamed
On the back of a bear through the Caparthians, whistlin’ away to the gushing of a stream
Stowed away on a cruise ship, she turned up in the biggest apple of all.
Hustle and bustle, she could knock them all down
On the back of a dolphin to the Easter Islands; basking in
delight, sunburn on her nose
As she danced from rock to carved rock. They shot her down. With a musket - like a bird flying high in the sky
Scrawny body fell, a pathetic heap upon the dirt. “That’s what you get”, her
“For dreaming you could ever escape”. Her body broken, they knew they’d won.
Blood stained grass and a twisted neck.
What they’d forgotten is that birds are free. They didn’t notice her smile or
the beauty of her dream.
The sky shone as it never had before, the world spun and shook with life, her last breath was drawn.
Air was delicious.
Her neck snapped as she twirled midair, one last look at the carved stone
faces. Knowing expressions.
Blood glistened in the blades to join the waiting Earth.
Raw and unchallenged.
She was all of 16 in 1864, when the world still had much changing to do
It’s not changed much and one thing is certain: their Empire’s still
hunting that one little dreamer
She’s somewhere out there, where the Northern Lights are at their brightest.
Green sky like the London smog
Feels like home at last, the frozen air chills her make-believe lungs.
She feels alive again
They called her Marina, though that wasn’t her name
She wore striped tights and a shock of blue hair
© Copyright 2016 Eilidh Hart. All rights reserved.