To all children who own no name
And who behind laughter-lighted faces
Hide the shame, of sin
Which benefitted their joy, not a trace?
To all children
Who carry the weight of guilt,
Of censure, of law.
Who reach the courts, the Borstals, the Homes
Look not in them for flaw,
Nor yet in their mothers, who were children,
Or in their nameless fathers, who were children,
Down the ages to times start
But seek the flaw in good men,
Who make the laws for children to keep.
And having looked, and found,
Ask that this law, that breeds a stigma,
That reeks it’s stench on woman
And calls her offspring BASTARD,
Do not ask me how the victims vision is distorted
For in her mind, she is still a child,
And the Flyblow of a system.
SOURCE: ‘Our Kate’ – Catherine Cookson (1974)