Rebellion ’gainst rebels, me -
those found boring, establishment -
but what of we, compliant raised,
had not with wit or motive drive
to break from what then satisfied?
Of middle class, from teachers, faith,
where earning, saving, service meant
the means to live responsibly
in charity and social care,
though challenge where laid fare unfair.
And yes, we had our protests too,
South Africa, apartheid set,
a call for justice, driven rights;
though small, oneself against the tide
we took a stand and raised our voice.
I walked the line, jeered, rugby tours,
supported Woodstock, protests Nam,
young burning draft cards, pacifist,
but not the new imperialists,
who beckoned on, Mod Rocker tiffs.
It was an age, naivety,
the police still a happy lot,
and we, deceived; thought major plot
injustice in our global view.
I reason no apology
for revolution limited
to protest, Julie Felix songs,
investing ‘third world’ businesses,
but not that stand of anarchists,
most now I fear, by wealth encased.
So I remain claimed radical,
conservative to effect change,
for how give reason to reject
those goals set in the serpents’ nest,
which now, we find, included church?
I admit, of the extant set,
but should confess against the tide
of expectation, those in step
with zeitgeist of a former age,
now hindsight, retrospect in charge?
When serendipity appeared
(‘divine’ seemed blaming God for much -
their absence, trinity, from most)
they claimed the same brought privilege -
and I could not agree the more
that fortune’s door opened for me.
I did grab, grasp it with all means,
my mentors, training, family,
the opportunities of wealth
in academe, for those who would.
One leading to another, trailed,
collected circumstance conspired,
lay vistas unfold at my feet.
I do not deny, as always so,
it is response enables growth,
and whilst ambition, cash rewards
not features in my driving force
(without appearance to this day)
yet I know that this verse alone
stands testament to all enjoyed -
five years at Cambridge, wisdom’s hub,
its travel, drama, meeting fame,
and countless gifts of grace in frame.
But does world gain, my freedom’s choice
offered through generations’ leap?
So I must less apologise.