Tag Archive | Awareness


It’s no secret that as someone who is actively involved in politics and has been for over 30 years I have signed my share of petitions on a number of different issues. My signature has supported campaigns on everything from demanding the end of apartheid in South Africa to the right to equal marriage, and the end of period poverty. So when someone asked me if I thought signing petitions mattered and could be viewed as political activism I had no hesitation in saying that it could and I wrote this poem entitled Signature to illustrate the point. I hope you find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read. 


Someone once asked me

does signing a petition count as activism 

I told them it did 

they seemed happy with my answer

if slightly confused  

on realising this  I explained why our signature matters

I shared stories I had heard of injustice in South Africa 

when Nelson Mandela was labelled a terrorist 

by Margaret Thatcher

when all he wanted was  his people to have the right to rule their land 

I said that signing petitions was 

a way of raising awareness to make people understand

why things needed to change 

but would stay the same 

If we didn’t sign up to express our discontent .

I explained that this is direct democracy in action

and without this kind of participation 

it’s no exaggeration to  say 

Palestine would still be ignored

the lion rampant would never have roared for democracy 

governments could neglect child poverty 

and remain  inactive on tackling the gig economy.

equal marriage would have remained a distant dream 

and no it’s not the preserve of smaller parties like the greens 

It’s a valuable way of bringing issues from  the fringe to the mainstream 

of changing attitudes over time 

at street stalls or online 

authority knows

the power of your signature.

© Gayle Smith 2017 


Unknown Songs

Hey Readers

This is a poem which looks at mental health conditions which are not only unseen but often undiagnosed such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Acrophobia. Though both are recognised medical issues many people still lack understanding of them and people who have them are often dismissed as eccentric or introverted. If I sound like I am writing from experience on this topic that’s because my aunt Helen (Nellie Russell ) Timperly had both of the issues I mentioned and I know the impact it had on her life and that of her family , friends, and neighbours. I’ve given it the title Unknown Songs I hope you enjoy the read 

Unknown Songs

My aunt had a neatness obsession

a place for everything and everything in its place

she cleaned the house three, four , five times a day

for fear, she would fail the cleanliness test

she couldn’t let any dust gather

in the home she never left

acrophobia kept her trapped


never venturing beyond the garden gate

fate had given an ordered woman

a disordered life

a devoted wife and mother

there was kindness in her discipline

long before the domestic goddess

had been invented

the original one could never be contented

her illnesses, unknown songs

in the album of her life.

@ Gayle Smith 2017.