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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: Goodshaw Chapel<br />

Wu’du<br />

amani saeed<br />

I would dig up Halifax<br />

to build you a home. I would carry<br />

every single stone, jagged<br />

and fresh-plucked<br />

from the maw of the earth,<br />

down the hills to town<br />

just to pass my ragged hands over its face<br />

and find yours in it.<br />

Would chisel<br />

until your fe<strong>at</strong>ures emerged, sudden<br />

and smiling.<br />

Would stumble<br />

through vales of green for you, arms<br />

out, eyes closed, hands expectant. Know<br />

you would guide me, plain as I am<br />

as grey, as small. As a good mother would.<br />

I promise to raise you the plainest house.<br />

The smoothest, blandest pews<br />

the barest roof<br />

slot the se<strong>at</strong>s to<br />

converge around you like a colosseum<br />

beloved, I’ll extinguish hell<br />

with a bucket<br />

set the heavens ablaze<br />

like Rabia, run<br />

like she ran wild<br />

through the desert<br />

as do the winds of the moor<br />

tousling the he<strong>at</strong>her heads<br />

with divine abandon. O<br />

I pine for you. I burn.<br />

I burn so th<strong>at</strong> your voice<br />

rips through me, th<strong>at</strong> when I tip<br />

my head back<br />

and unfurl<br />

my mouth<br />

the sound<br />

comes bounding out<br />

bouncing and unbidden and joyful,<br />

beloved, so joyful.<br />

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