Cap of Liberty (peterloo) 

16 Aug img_0221

A poem commemorating the Peterloo massacre of 1819, when 18 were killed in Manchester just for seeking the vote.

Cap of Liberty



Peaceful assembly 

on the fields

Seeking reform, the vote,

Liberty.

Banners flying,

Topped with that old symbol,

The red cap of

Liberty.

They came riding riding,

Sabres drawn

Just like Waterloo,

A battle against lady Liberty.

Riding down and slashing

People like you and me

18 butchered innocently,

Red the colour of the blood stain

And the cap of Liberty.

I am a Mancunian

1 Aug img_1795-1

I may be homeless,

Living on the street,

A stranger on a tram that you happen to meet,

But I am a mancunian.

Mancunian.

I may be a red or a blue,

Locked in sports gladiator duel,

But I am a mancunian,

Mancunian.
I may speak many languages,

One, or a few,

With words sounding unfamiliar to you.

I may be a Christian,

A Muslim, A Jew,

A Sikh, A Buddhist,

Or Hindu.

I may have strong faith,

Or no faith,

But I am a mancunian,

Mancunian.
I may love the rain or Loathe the rain,

But gay straight or bi,

Full of faith or no faith be I,

Red or blue,

Have or have not,

I am your kindred ‘ar kid’,

I’m a bee in the hive,

I’m a mancunian.

St George

23 Apr img_1683

Scaled Dragons 
armoured Knights,
Flags of red crosses on white

For so long appropriated by the far right.

But the England I celebrate

Is a pick and mix of influence,

A rich mosaic,

Shakespeare and Chaucer’s style

To me are harmonious with Meera Syal.

So while I eat my Sephardic chips and fish,

This symbolic dish,

I remember one thing,

Our ancient ability to welcome people,

Our plurality is what makes us great,

Starting with our eastern patron saint.

This blessed isle, 

this old/new, 

This England.

Human being

17 Apr

I’m not a number on a list,

I’m a person that exists,

I’m not a problem to be solved,

From a conflict unresolved,

I’m not seeking to take your benefits and your breathing space,

I’m only fleeing hell itself, wanting to be safe.

I’m a human being,

I’m not to blame,

I’m a human being,

A person with a name,

Nobody wants me,

Facing your distain

I’m a human being,

Can you say the same?

Union

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Why should I be sad on my wedding day?

The bells ring, the people of Auld Reekie say

Was it James who said to Westminster,

You the husband, she is the bride,

She the Mrs, you the mister.
Why not marry,

For long we have tarried.

For a century, we have courted,

One King,

A flag of red white and blue flown atop ships,

Scottish stories on English lips.
Paranoia drove necessary action,

Fear over succession or invasion,

Taking the throne from a brother 

to promise to a distant cousin.
Not a love match,

But a dynastic match,

Strategy over romance you see,

When Anne takes her daughter to the altar

To do her duty.

‘I will grow to love you,’ the groom does say,

‘I promise to honour love and obey’

Despite the promise of a new birth,

Why is she sad on her wedding day?

   
 

Poem: Union Jack

7 Apr img_0128

I’m writing a series of poems about the Stuarts and how their dynasty helped create for better or worse the Britain we have today. Here is a shape poem, called Union Jack.

  

King Charles III 

13 Mar img_0118-1

  Last night, I saw King Charles III during its Manchester stop on its U.K. Tour. I must say, it’s a play that has intrigued me for some time, from its title, to the provocative posters. I wasn’t disappointed at all! Without wanting to spoil the many twists and turns of the plot, the play explores the nature of the relationship between crown and parliament and what it means to be a monarch in the 21st century. What a King can do in conflict with what he should do.

Headed by the brilliant Robert Powell in the lead role, with speech reminiscent of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, the cast negotiate the dilemmas posed by this conflict. I thoroughly recommend anyone to see it.

Here is a poem I wrote, influenced by the skilful work of Mike Bartlett…

Monarch

What’s a king to say,

When lead this way or that way

Left and right,

Wrong or right,

Should he say nothing at all?
What’s a king to do,

When any slight action

Could result in unforeseen reaction,

Should he be bound convention,

Guilded shackles?

Is it safer to do nothing at all?
The crown,

Bejewelled and gold

Is cold,

Hollow,

A trinket, a bauble,

As am I.

So I am a symbol, above the fray,

I must be, after coronation day.

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