Michael Groce is a multi-award-winning poet and the first black man to win the Cheltenham Literature Festival Poetry Slam. Michael has published articles and book reviews and has appeared on national and international television.

In the poem Six Rules, he recants his mother's love of watching classic films, songs listened to, and personalities that inspired her and why he should take note of which he did. Those notes became the Six Rules to be led by playing a role in overcoming obstacles Michael faced in his life.

 

Michael's mother is Cherry Groce, the woman who was shot by police in 1985 while searching for him, sparking the Brixton riot. Cherry Groce, then 37, was shot in the shoulder, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. She died of kidney failure in 2011, aged 63, and in 2014 a jury inquest found that police failures contributed to her death. 

 

To Mark, on the 10th anniversary of her passing, Michael wrote a poem called 'The Spiritual Woman' in remembrance and to flag up her active life, spirit, and Maroon heritage.

Michael and Mum.png

Six Rules

 

Mother give me my instincts, just like any other dad,

put me in front of the TV screen so, I can fight like Ali champ.

Mother gave the instincts, and TV gave me the tools,

but mother said to survive on the streets you need to follow some rules.

 

The first rule she told me, she said, "son."

 

1. Stay one step ahead of the game

2. If you can’t do the time, don’t you go out to play

3. Always keeps your manners

4. Shoes heeled and cleaned

5. Ears to the ground

6. Your eyes always peeled

 

She fed me on James Cagney, so I would grow loving my ma,

she fed me on Otis redding, so I could fight my way off the docks.

She fed me on Elvis Presley, so I don’t step on peoples’ shoes,

but mother said to survive on the streets you need to follow some rules.

 

The first rule she told me, she said, "son."

 

1. Stay one step ahead of the game

2. If you can’t do the time, don’t you go out to play

3. Always keeps your manners

4. Shoes heeled and cleaned

5. Ears to the ground

6. Your eyes always peeled

Mother give me my instincts, just like any other dad,

put me in front of the TV screen so, I can fight like Ali champ.

Mother gave the instincts, and TV gave me the tools,

but mother said to survive on the streets you need to follow some rules.

Otis Redding

Elvis

Ali

James Cagney

 

Resources

Support material that might be useful

Knowing the rules is one thing, applying them is another, one without the other, doesn't work,  especially if you intend to achieve your ambitions where you have to go, 'Above and beyond more than is required.'

 

This somewhat redundant expression- above and beyond here both denote excess-often precedes the call of duty, which means exceeding what a particular job requires.