Sit up straight, keep your elbows in.
Stand up straight, hands by your sides
lightly clenched. Step out
with your left foot first
and keep in step with the rest.
Posture was drilled into us at school
(nineteen-forties). For girls also
there was 'deportment',
often mentioned in reports.
Then at high-school boys had Cadets.
Cap in place, don't slouch,
atten-shun, stand at - ease.
'Squad shun. By the right, quick march.
Left wheel - step short
on the inside. Squad, halt.
Nowadays, I stroll past shop-fronts,
hands clasped behind me
to keep my back straight,
as if I'm Prince Philip,
one step behind Her Majesty.
Just back from town with my wife -
we joined a rally
for Disability Insurance.
She'd had a banner made
Don't Deny Dyslexics!
I held one pole, and walked tall.
We stood about, not marching
anywhere, at attention, at ease,
and bringing on a back-ache.
Others were in wheelchairs,
or on crutches holding posters.
So many disabilities -
and these were the ones who got here.
I hoped we'd be on tv news -
not even mentioned in reports.