Mitchie Alexander’s Poem for Mary Clarke

This powerful and moving poem was written by Cllr Mitchie Alexander and read by her at a special meeting of Brighton &

Cllr Mitchie Alexander

Hove City Council on 14th December 2022. She read it in support of the motion to posthumously award Mary the Freedom of the City.

 Mary Clarke 1862-1910
The First Suffragette to die for the cause
I wear my purple sleeves with pride,
You will see me, I will not hide.
We hear your boots on the cold stone floor ,
You tell us ‘eat’ , we say ‘no more’!
You tie us to chairs and ram tubes down our noses,
The mixture of bread, milk and brandy flood our lungs,
Instruments of your force rip our vocal cords.
We are dignified, we are loyal, we are pure , we are full of hope!
I wear my purple sleeves with pride,
You will see me, I will not hide.
We smash your windows to shatter your illusion that we are invisible,
We are not!
We are wise,
We are intelligent,
We have our own minds,
We do have a right to stand beside you !
I am your mother,
I am your daughter,
I am your sister,
I am your wife,
I am equal !
We will not give up the fight,
We will not surrender
Our strength of conviction may make our bodies frail,
Yet we do not break, you will not gag us.
Tied up to the chair is a bag of bones, held together with the might and the devotion of a woman on a missive to open your ears and hear what we say.
I wear my purple sleeves with pride,
You will see me, I will not hide.
You tower over us with your masculine strength and your deep tones,
Yet we do not stumble and fall,
We do not crumble and fade.
We will not give in , until you see me as your equal!
On Christmas Day your actions did stop the life flowing through my veins,
Yet the memory of me did not disappear
I did it for the women of today , of yesterday and of tomorrow.
I hear their voices singing ‘Thankyou Mary, Thankyou for your courage, your loyalty and your hope,
Thankyou for what you did and for who you are ,
You live on in us today’
I wear my purple sleeves with pride,
I did not die, I did not hide.
I wear my purple sleeves with pride ,
I stand with my sisters by my side,
We will be heard, we do not hide !”
Written by Mitchie Alexander December 2023
Mary Clarke Statue Appeal