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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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Tocsin<br />

Wh<strong>at</strong> is th<strong>at</strong> sound high in the air?<br />

far away a hush<br />

a choir takes a bre<strong>at</strong>h<br />

and when the earth regains its axis<br />

the h<strong>at</strong>ch opens<br />

badger-like a volunteer<br />

scurries to retrieve<br />

the pin-hole camera mounted<br />

on the bunker’s concrete lid.<br />

a hole in each side<br />

caught the flash<br />

th<strong>at</strong> caused the jolt<br />

the almost snapping of the heart.<br />

light threadbare over seas<br />

like setting sewage.<br />

in the gut, a three-man cell,<br />

a dutch study<br />

of shade and flame.<br />

They turn the photo over to reveal<br />

a lowering star.<br />

The evening meal is quiet.<br />

Overhead the plume<br />

still sh<strong>at</strong>ters<br />

a dust<br />

so lethally new<br />

th<strong>at</strong> none could feel<br />

wh<strong>at</strong> was happening<br />

only<br />

know it.<br />

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