Poem: ‘To Restore One’s Soul’

In October 2020 to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, people with lived experience of poverty across the country shared their original poetry. In this video, Amanda Button reads her poem ‘To restore one’s soul’.

To restore one’s soul

is to have a sense of pride in what you do

to take back control

over your own image

to be positive about yourself

your self-respect

your self-worth in everything that you do.

 

If poverty gets you down

and humiliated to the extent

that you feel ashamed or judged

for how you look, how you talk,

or how you are perceived by others —

because poverty can just simply fry your brain —

then stop for a while.

 

Take time out

to just go out

and reconnect

and be at one with nature.

For me, I am an animal lover

so I reconnect by being close to my dog

and go horse riding.

It gives me back my pride,

my self-esteem, my self-worth

and most importantly my dignity too.

 

To believe in someone

is to also give them back their dignity too,

their self-respect, honour and humanity.

It feeds their soul.

 

I am what is known as a renegade

because I have a backbone

and I am prepared to stand up

for what is right and just.

 

I will not be silenced

nor will I cower down to the powers that be

nor will I be downtrodden underfoot like a piece of dirt

that they have just stepped in.

 

They can criticise me all they want for the way I look

or for the way that I speak — I don’t care.

My strength is in my self-belief

for I know in myself what matters to me:

that is my self-respect and my dignity.

 

My positive power is to stand up and be counted

not only for myself

but on the behalf of others and I can also be their voice too

because I have the courage to be able to say “enough is enough”.

 

I am not going to, nor am I prepared to, take it any more.

So the powers that be:

Take notice of me.

Sit up and listen to my voice

and heed my words that I have to say to you.

 

Because I am not a number

nor am I a commodity

that you can push from pillar to post

or pick up and drop again

when it suits you.

 

Because after all is said and done

I am a person

I am a human being just like you

Because I have a voice too.

I will stand up and be counted.

You will not silence me.

I will not go away,

I am here to stay,

and I will have my say.


With thanks to Dan Farley for video editing on behalf of the APLE Collective and to On Road Media and the London Challenge Poverty Week for supporting the event. The music in the video was composed and performed by Jason French.