Laura Kestrel


You, painted canvas
You, rouge-tinted warrior
You, soft delicate features
You, tough sinewy heart
You, hard-boiled sweet
You, fragile butterfly
You, ferocious lion
You, graceful lamb
You, Brixton beauty
You, Ganges ruby
You, country flower
You, working-all-hours
You, endless ocean
You, free-flying bird

Never let them clip your wings
Never let them turn your tides
Or let their greed make you live for shifts
Never let them trim your leaves
Never let them post-code you
Or let their prejudices be ever swift
Never let them shear your wool
Never let them stifle your roar
Never let them prevent your flight
Closing before you, door after door
Or let yourself be crushed up and spat out
Stopping your whisper from becoming a shout

Let yourself be softer, but do it for you
Be hard when you need to, but only in protection’s hand
Wear your colours proudly
Whether your face, your clothes or skin
Stand tall
Let people help you when they offer
Kindness is the best thing anyone can proffer
Weather isn’t always bright sunshine, but waning
Often it is simply raining

But we are not raindrops
Sliding down rooves, and splintering on the ground

We are umbrellas
We fend off the rain with fervour
Made not of cloth, but of leather
There to act as shelter
United, and fighting together

We are umbrellas
A collection of divine spokes
Full of heartaches, and jokes
Singin’ in that sultry rain
Combatting social injustice and pain

Above the storm, we will stand tall
Making this a world for all
We can fly ourselves in our own cockpit
Piloting our own futures, no counterfeit

And don’t you ever, ever forget it!

Illustration by Laura Kestrel

Illustration by Laura Kestrel

A West-country girl at heart, Laura’s poetry is inspired and enriched by her experience of growing up in Cornwall – the beautiful, sometimes mythical landscape as well as the not-no-beautiful realities of life. Poetry has provided her with a way of expressing herself that no other medium quite could, especially during those turbulent pubescent years. 2016 turned out to be quite a turning point for Laura, in various ways, as she lifted her pen from the page and took her poems with her to the stage. She has just finished her BA in French and History at the University of Kent, where the final year was spent writing and performing her poetry as much as possible, something she hopes to continue pursuing during the next chapter of her life.