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Contemporary Voices

2 / 7 The Little Non-Aged Woman: Around St. Johns Church

'The little non-aged woman,
Picking things out the bin

Not food
But she’s noticed for picking rubbish
out and around Hackney.

I sometimes wonder
what she does
with all her stuff.

And so a lady
tells me she never
asks for money.
Martin tells me
she has a new coat
and knows exactly
what to do
in the DHSS.'

Alison West’s poem about a current Hackney ‘character’ responds to the Centerprise publication The Threepenny Doctor: Doctor Jelley of Hackney. Doctor Jelley was more likely to prescribe a hearty steak to his working class patients than expensive tonics they couldn’t afford in the pre-NHS era.

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1978 © Alan Denney