Staffordshire Not

by Bob Hale

The emblem on my school badge was the Staffordshire Knot.
It’s visible in all the fading photographs.
I could write my own address before I even started school
And the last line that I wrote was ”Bilston, Staffs”.
But then came ’74
And we were Staffordshire no more.
They had changed us at the dropping of a hat.
Our badges stayed the same,
But our home had a new name.
“West Midlands”. Where’s the character in that?

Some objected; they considered that they were of sterner stuff.
Continued to use “Staffs.” in weak defiance.
Wrote letters to the papers, to their MPs, to the PM
But it could only end in their compliance.
The fait had been accompli
And thoroughly and promptly
The boundaries of Staffordshire receded.
The ears they turned were deaf.
No use appealing to the ref.
Any opposition to it went unheeded.

But some of us, like history, will take a longer view
Not everyone thinks bigger must be best
And indentity’s a tricky thing to try to take away
Not something that can just be dispossessed.
Here’s my old school tie.
I look at it and sigh,
To see the emblem of the knot repeated there.
Nostalgia? Well, perhaps.
But though the years elapse
Some bonds exist that are too strong to tear.


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