Poems to share

Rosa Parks – 1st December 1955

Lillie Mae Bradford – 11th May 1955
Claudette Colvin – 2nd March 1955

Not the first to sit.
Not the first to get arrested.
Not old (she was 42).
Not tired (‘just tired of giving in’).

One of many, unable to sit
with the injustice of years.
A rider on an old road
walked by millions on tired legs.

These riders fought for a feat,
years in the trudging,
of sole-worn protest
walked in frustrated miles
over landscapes of lives.

One day became thirteen months
of continued mapping,
of hitchhiking and car pools,
of walking and tattered shoes,
because the bus
wasn’t going anywhere they planned to go.

Joseph Coehlo

Joseph Coelho is a performance poet and playwright. He has written plays for companies including Soho Theatre, Polka Theatre, Theatre Royal York, Oily Cart, The Spark Children’s Festival, Islington Community eatre, and Pied Piper Theatre Company. His plays have received special note from Soho’s Verity Bargate Award and The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition.

Joseph’s poems have been published in several Macmillan anthologies, including Green Glass Beads, edited by Jacqueline Wilson. Joseph has been a guest poet on CBeebies Rhyme Rocket, where he was beamed up from The Rhyme Rock to perform his ‘Bug Poem’. His debut children’s collection Werewolf Club Rules! is published by Frances Lincoln and was the winner of the 2015 Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award (CLiPPA).