16 January 2018

DM World Culture

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would get involved in a co-produced World Collections project run by Derby Museums. The basic premise was to produce a piece of writing from a collection of words gathered by the local community – words that were felt to unite everyone across the world. The following words were chosen: food, dancing, celebration, happiness, smiles, faith, money, heartbreak, love, grief, friendship and cultures. It’s an amazing project and one that I feel honoured to be a part of.

You can follow this link to the project: dmworldculture.tumblr or follow them on Twitter. There are many, many other responses and these are to be collected in a book that will be part of a display at the World Cultures Exhibition.

Here is my offering, produced from the beautiful selection of words above. Enjoy!

A Poem in Three Parts 

The Wedding

Through the arch of roses – white
– a faint veil flutter,
laughter rippling in its wake,
one step
and then another,
tables clothed in food and wine
and all the time smiles tinkle,
faces wrinkle,
eyes are dancing to the stars
through fingers swaying,
casting spirals
in the air.

A time for celebration,
a time to throw off care, concern
and agitation.
A time for joy and happiness,
a time for a lover’s sweet caress,
a dress so free
that, when caught
by a passing breeze,
floats to the sky
like a cloud.

The Funeral

Smiles stagnate
in black and white
on mantelpiece and wall,
recalling far from half a story,
a fragment, sharp and clear,
turned on its side like a slither
of moon.

Allow me to feel what I must –
in my own way.
Entertain my faith,
diminish the space
between each member of the human race,
regardless of features
or colour of face
regardless of place
of upbringing, wealth –
of money – sweet money
like honey eaten from the pot,
and when it’s gone
it’s gone.

Earth upon earth,
prayer upon prayer,
feet as dark as shadows
walking a path
that threatens to last
for eternity –
that splits the heart
and ends
in heartbreak.


I long for jazz hands,
for layered cake,
my lover’s last caress
and lip warm kisses.
I long for love,
the love
that only my love can give.
I long for grief that lasts for ever –
a tether from heart to beating heart –
that wraps me in arms
stronger than the most rooted tree,
cooler than the coolest breeze
slowly shifting.

I long for love for love for love,
for eyes the colour of sea glass
softened by whispering waves.
I long for the sway to the song
that will stay in my heart
embedded and hard,
rooted and fast.

Friends, they come
with sucked in smiles
and fingers squeezing tight –
the hands of friendship offered
left and right and round
and round.

And I accept – grateful for what I have,
for what we have shared,
for moments that cross cultures
with no divide,
nothing to separate us,
the spaces in between us
closing in.




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