It's in our DNA, in our bones
The building of our schools, shops and homes
The working of the lands, 
Our head, heart and hands

It’s in our Wikies, and our stickies
Its in the marching of our boots
And deep within the ground in the fungi roots
Relied upon for the pollination of our plants
And seen in action in colonies of ants

It travels in the air we breathe
And glistens on the webs we weave 
It’s the heavy loss we feel as we grieve

It's in our grit, and our wit
When we are at the bottom of the pit
And in the pride stitched into the 
badge of our favourite kit

It's in the Dance of life
Through the trouble, joy and strife
Its shines in the care, smile and mutual aid
Of stranger, neighbour and services unpaid 

A friendly nurse, an opened purse
When your tank and bank is empty
The cup that keeps on giving
For as long as we are living

It’s what makes ‘the team’
And what creates the steam
That powers our northern engines and dreams

It’s in the soil and the oil 
That protects us as we toil
And that’s tough to break or spoil

It’s in the kind of power that we grow 
And the ideas that we sow
When we create the conditions for the 
rising and sharing of the dough

It’s in the stories of your gran
from the rice fields of Japan
In the rhythm and the beats
That line our urban streets

It’s in the buzz of our bees
The whisper of the trees
It’s in our democratic roots 
And community wealth building shoots

In our canals and pioneers 
Cycleways, quietways, memories of brigadiers
Its heard in the roars of football fans & cricketers

It’s in the magic of Youth Workers and Witches
The healing potion, the thread that stitches 
To repair the Covid wounds and austerity tears
That each and every service and community now bares

It’s in A Bed Every Night and support every day
In the Living Wages that we pay 
Its in Our Northern Spirit 
And Our Regional Sway

From our great, great grandfathers 
To our sister suffragettes
And now the calls of our sons and daughters
To tell the truth, without regrets
It’s the bit we’ve overlooked in our relationship with the planet
It puts life before profit, so the Tory’s like to ban it

It resists the chains 
and the stock market gains
That exploit and extract 
And spin myth into fact

Its in the courage 
To acknowledge 
The systems and structures
and multi-generational ruptures
That enclosed, corrupted
That oppressed, dispossessed

It’s in the depths of our love
It brings peace like a dove
It’s there when we are at our best
Not in competition with the rest

It’s why we hold on tight to each other 
Like sister and brother
And refuse to accept as the norm
That some boats aren’t built to withstand the storm

And, as we sit here in our boxes
Battered, bruised and confused
It’s what gives us hope and pride
A clear purpose to our stride 

It’s key to how we overcome 
And become
Oh so much more than just the sum

It reminds us that we care, 
And allows us to dare, 
To imagine and design a world that’s far less fragile, 
Far more empathetic, adaptive and agile

Greener, Fairer, Kinder, Happier and Fonder
Where bonds grow ever stronger
A world free of greed and hunger

This magic sauce
Of course
Is Cooperation

It’s the magnet and the glue
That binds me with you
Shoulder to shoulder
Hand in hand

Whilst egos fall
Together, in cooperation we will stand

It’s in the we and the us
In the building of our trust
That gives strength to the many, not the few
We are cooperators, through and through
It’s who we are, and it’s what we do


I wrote this poem for the NW Regional Cooperative Party Conference, 26 February 2021

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