Irene Hossack teaches Creative Writing and English Language at The Open University. She studied at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, writing her doctoral dissertation on the poetry and poetics of Geoffrey Hill, and her Masters dissertation on the poetry of Charles Simic. Her poetry has been published internationally over a number of years. Most recently her poem ‘Cumbernauld’ appears in the online project Whaur Extremes Meet, her poem ‘Bethlehem-Glasgow’ is forthcoming in Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry (Luath Press) and ‘A Glasgow Story’ is poem No. 11 on the StAnza Poetry Map of Scotland.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has stated that her inspiration to enter politics was Margaret Thatcher. For me, Margaret Thatcher was a major factor in my decision to leave Scotland for a new life in Australia. My poem ‘Obituary’ was written in response to hearing of her death. In my view, she is the other face of dangerous women. She is someone who destroyed communities, who argued against the notion of society and social justice. As a woman in power she achieved nothing for the progression of women’s rights or feminism.
Where there had been harmony
she gave us discord.
She toyed with truth until we believed
the lies, tore at our faith until
there was nothing left of certainty.
Despair suffocates hope when
there is no such thing as society.
Some of our children will sleep
with the dead tonight,
trying to jag away,
shag away, fight away,
what they’ve been born to
in the graveyards of our cities.
When they announce her death,
I wait to feel something.
The newsreader, fluffing his lines
says she died from a strike;
there were many who did,
but not she.
It isn’t that I can’t mourn your death
but rather, I mourn your life
and wonder, is there any shame in that?