Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Black Poppies Workshops

Internationally renowned poet Levi Tafari is exploring the lives of men and their families stranded in Liverpool after WWI and responding creatively through story-telling and poetry workshops in Liverpool Central Library every Saturday throughout November. All welcome to join the sessions, find out more here 

Here is some of the work that has been created in the first session by participants...  

My War
By Pat Dinsmore 

You want me to fight for this country,
I am important, I matter

We suffer, we hope for a better future
To be important, to matter 

I draw on my recourses, my strength 
To carry on being important, to matter 

I return from my exertions in the bleakness
To be important? To matter?

No, it is more than bleak here
Aggression from my fellow man

I’m not important, I don’t matter   


Fear and Loathing in Liverpool
By Owen Allen

I arrived today 
But the promise of arrival faded into the truth of my pitiful situation
With an almighty crash like a wave on the Dockland stone wall

I realised there was nothing here for me 
No love, no warmth, welcome or friendship
Instantaneously I have become viewed as a parasite 

My heart is heavy and my soul is torn
How can I be viewed as worse than a stray dog!
Why am I being treated so? Alas, I don’t know 

All I know, are hateful stares and insults by tongue 
In a language I am unfamiliar with 
I am experiencing terror now 

I have no lodgings and it is well past the witching hour
As I walk these streets barefooted and ragged trousers 
I resemble little of the conventional native philanthropist 

I resent into the labyrinth of darkness
Maybe, just maybe this darkness will be my friend


By Janaya Pickett 

My ancestors where fragile,
Like a baby,
That almost didn’t happen.

Yet my great grandparents’ eyes met
And their parents’ too:
Loves that stretch back
As far as I can imagine.

In whatever way they came up,
Everything was against them:
Time, the tide, their tan.

Here I am

By proxy of ghostly histories.
Tales more spectacular
And grizzly
Than any Tolkien could muster;

Of black heroes
And goddesses
And the darkness that worked against them,
But never won

Because here I am.
Feeling a million years old,
I nurse my daughter:
That ancient practice

Protected at great length
By the light and lives
That we now speak of in the past tense.
Unbreakable codes,
Unquestionable Strength.


Black Poppies 
By Eileen Kyriacou

Like steadfast pillars, they stood in unison.
As brave soldiers, they were enslaved by war.
Some boys not yet men, when they took up arms.
They fought so that others could live in peace.
Not compelled they showed legion for the country.
Did anyone note that bravery in their eyes?
Who’d contemplated plight of their families?
Wives and Mothers left minus their brave men.
Children kept pining for much-loved fathers.
For those left behind still the battles raged.
Who stands at their graves now and sheds a tear?
Gallantries of the brave weren't in disguise.
In the majesty of black now, all are portrayed.
For their blood flowed too in those rivers of red.

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