Pandora’s Box 

A somewhat clumsy attempt to entwine Budget Day, International Women’s Day and Lass War in last minute Radio 5 Live commission to write an alternative budget poem.
Pandora’s Box
Today, three Northern girls fates

rest on the contents

of Philip Hammond’s red box. 

His budget unlocks

or closes off an alternative future.

Rewrites the story that could be written

for a post-Brexit Britain.

Imagine Sarah-who will invent 

the world’s cleanest ever bio-power

but only if she gets out of that Gateshead tower 

block, and can stop being her Mum’s carer,

if she gets treated for chronic stress,

on a cash-boosted NHS. 

Imagine Aisha,

who would solve the Riemann Hypothesis, 

if she wasn’t a late bloomer,

who’ll fail a reinstated 11 plus

and become the fastest ever stock taker

at Stockport’s Toys R Us.

Think of Georgia

who would teach the founder of the most popular band since the Beatles

to play guitar,

if only music degrees weren’t too expensive 

and far away.

And if her parents shop in Kendal 

didn’t go bust after the hike 

in small business rates.

These three aren’t sole steerers

of their fates.

They’re bulbs not flowers,

they’re pure potential,

some social investment,

their growth would be exponential.

They wouldn’t even become anything

that would annoy people,

like a female Dr Who.

No pressure Philip Hammond,

these unsung future heroines hopes

for a world we can’t yet imagine,

rest on you.

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