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Untold Stories: Poetry at English Heritage

Untold Stories – Poetry at English Heritage took place in the autumn of 2020. Through new commissions, a poetry exchange and a public competition the programme allowed us to experience English Heritage sites in new ways and offered opportunities for everyone to explore our past through poetry. The programme was co-curated by Jacob Sam-La Rose, English Heritage’s Poet in Residence. This digital anthology brings together a collection of works written as part of the programme. It features poems written in Shout Out Loud workshops led by Malika Booker; as part of the Untold Stories Poetry Competition; and by commissioned poets Esme Allman, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Jay Bernard, Malika Booker, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa and Jacob Sam-La Rose. english-heritage.org.uk/untold-stories

Untold Stories – Poetry at English Heritage took place in the autumn of 2020. Through new commissions, a poetry exchange and a public competition the programme allowed us to experience English Heritage sites in new ways and offered opportunities for everyone to explore our past through poetry. The programme was co-curated by Jacob Sam-La Rose, English Heritage’s Poet in Residence.

This digital anthology brings together a collection of works written as part of the programme. It features poems written in Shout Out Loud workshops led by Malika Booker; as part of the Untold Stories Poetry Competition; and by commissioned poets Esme Allman, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Jay Bernard, Malika Booker, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa and Jacob Sam-La Rose.

english-heritage.org.uk/untold-stories

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inspired by: Stott Park Bobbin Mill<br />

Wh<strong>at</strong> I could lose in threads<br />

tice cin<br />

Pit my head against the whirr.<br />

If you put my hands back one hundred, two hundred they’d be<br />

the same but jammed but crusted but through a hole and winded.<br />

Wood blocked raw.<br />

Bobbin’ up like whe<strong>at</strong> in a belly.<br />

I’m a raw block of wood,<br />

blo<strong>at</strong>ed wet by England.<br />

Oh hands of a fool,<br />

not cold but brittle.<br />

Oh be kind to this fool<br />

fretting in the seal.<br />

Singers on my ears to remember my grandmother, spinning and weaving.<br />

We lose ourselves in threads.<br />

I took you from a tree and heard you figging:<br />

There were rows and rows of people sitting next to each other – like school!<br />

People in front and by your side.<br />

Seven-thirty start, four o’clock break.<br />

Non-stop...<br />

Check your stitches for the passer – before the ironing ladies,<br />

– before the Hoffman – bobbin get the colours right, back up bobbins, 3<br />

or 4.<br />

Where did we all go beee?<br />

Tell the age of a thing<br />

circled trunk<br />

journey from tree<br />

to bobbin<br />

belt-driven machine<br />

snapping back <strong>at</strong> me<br />

snapping back <strong>at</strong> me<br />

snapping back <strong>at</strong> me:<br />

15

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