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-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 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.