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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: Down House<br />

Limbo<br />

i.<br />

with a delic<strong>at</strong>e touch<br />

smile lightly brushed<br />

stomach forced in the ribcage of a whale<br />

her portrait could be mounted anywhere in th<strong>at</strong> house<br />

and it would be considered n<strong>at</strong>ural<br />

when life becomes an ornament<br />

does it still dream of moving?<br />

ii.<br />

she plays piano for the man<br />

with a w<strong>at</strong>erfall flourishing from his chin<br />

he drops earthworms against her music<br />

fix<strong>at</strong>es on their reactions to C-sharp<br />

pushes their bonelessness<br />

his touch full of salt<br />

they gasp for air<br />

iii.<br />

a light filters through their skin<br />

dizzied by a pulsing beam<br />

rocking on the edge of a rhapsody<br />

between life and wh<strong>at</strong> comes next<br />

they beg for darkness<br />

soil drenched in decay<br />

the man hovers a candle over them<br />

dips a quill in ink and records their behaviour<br />

contempl<strong>at</strong>es their final position<br />

so small<br />

they will need to be fiddled with for hours<br />

iv.<br />

this work<br />

swapping the soul with cotton<br />

the semblance of life captured in limbo<br />

all preserved in this mausoleum<br />

and his name<br />

71

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