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Freshers' Day

I watched her reading the news
In her calm, efficient way
And my mind flew back years
To her university's Freshers' Day.
I was home on leave
At a bit of a loose end
So had crossed the Pennines
To see my oldest friend.
I'd been asked to stand in
For a while for that mate
Who was busy enrolling
And was likely to be late.
So, I was the Folk Club rep
Recruiting and explaining.
My spell nearly finished with
Just half an hour remaining
She came in to help.
Sat down by my side
Chatting quite amicably
Nothing to hide.
She asked me my course
So I explained straight away
I was a squaddie on leave
Helping out for the day.
It was as though an iron curtain
Had dropped across her face
As with an air of disdain
She stormed from the place.
From a chat mate to an unclean
For no other possible reason
Than being a serving soldier
I became a non person.
I saw her a few times that week
But no matter where or when
She always turned her back
And she never spoke again.
An idealist and a pacifist,
I was later led to understand:
Maybe ignorant of the price
Paid  for the safety of her land.
In her cosseted little world
Now many years later  
She reads the TV news
And I often wonder if she still
Harbours such elitist views.
Is she still that idealist
This icon of her trade
Safe in her unreal world because
Of sacrifices others made.
I think her career went well
And to me that's just fine
But I sadly still resent the way she
Had openly tried to demean mine.

I'm sure for this person this is a long forgotten minor incident. To me it was just one of the many displays of prejudice I came across in those early 1960's days.  

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