Girls Don’t Need to be Educated, They Get Married

Which, even then there wasn’t any law.

You’re not obliged to; nobody can make

you say I do. You mightn’t meet the one;

he mightn’t ask; and even if he did

and you accepted, which you mightn’t choose,

well – you could lose your husband various ways:


downed off a ladder, seeing to a slate;

drowned in the bath after a heart attack;

stricken: by lightning out on Beauchief course,

or shellfish in a Filey caravan;

another woman or another man;

a morning in his 40s when he walks

out of the door and never does come back.


You join the library, you educate

yourself, read everything. One day you gaze

transfixed at him transfigured, wonder who’s

the angry stranger wrestling the lid

of your green compost bin on your front lawn,

dough-faced and pointless as a William Blake

angel. It’s what an education’s for.


Eleanor Brown 2015