Small Change

Abigail Wyatt was born in Essex but now lives in the shadow of Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall.

Formerly, a teacher and Head of Faculty at Redruth School, she now works part-time at Carn Brea Leisure Centre and cares for her elderly mother whilst, at the same time, devoting as much time as possible to her writing, which has always been her passion.

Small Change

We didn’t fight for freedom and

a land fit for homecoming heroes.

We didn’t survive rationing, air raids,

fire bombs, dog fights, death camps, the Blitz.

We didn’t wake up to the stars above us

and shards of splintered glass in our slippers.

We didn’t see the ghastly dust that hung

on the morning like a shroud.


We didn’t fight it but the war was as real to us

as our fathers and our grateful mothers;

we grew up in the sunlight of their great relief,

heard their terror in the telling of their tales;

we sucked it in with our National Health milk

and we learned that we were the future;

at school, we bought poppies for the fallen dead

and wore them with innocent pride.


We were – we are – the baby boomers;

though now we are a nuisance and a burden,

then we were the tender young

for the sake of whom thousands had died. 

When we were still in our nappies,

we were plagued by doubt, and pregnant

with our parents’ expectations: to be happy

was our daily task as our business

was to make things make sense.


Now as we grow older, close in our hearts,

we confront the grey ghost of our failure:

we doused the flame, we dropped the ball,

we turned our backs on the fight.

We dared a while but then we slept

and woke to find our shiny new world broken.

Now hope spills out like so much small change

and our pockets are bereft of our dreams.


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Abigail Wyatt was born in Essex but has spent most of her adult life in Cornwall. She lives just outside Redruth, in the shadow of Carn Brea. Formerly a teacher of English and English Literature at Redruth School, she now works part-time at Carn Brea Leisure Centre and cares for her elderly mother. Abigail's passion is for writing poetry and short fiction. it is a pleasure she tries to indulge every day. She is a founding member of the Red River Poetry Collective and one of the editors of Poetry 24 at She enjoys performing her and can be seen at venues in Falmouth, Penzance and St Ives as well as at The Melting Pot Cafe, Krowji which is her unofficial 'base'. Since 2008, which was when she first began to write seriously, Abigail's poetry and short fiction have appered in more appeared in more than seventy outlets. Her collection of short fiction 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' is available from million

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