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BLACK POPPIES - 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, click 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 

------
 
Validation
 
By Janaya Pickett 
 
My ancestors where fragile,
Like a baby,
Defenceless,
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.


Remember Life
By Linda

Life in general is not about me
It’s the people on this earth
And the way we should be
 
The air that we breathe
The water we taste
Making time for all people
No opinions projecting hate
 
Remember days past
When world war was at its height
 
Our Ancestors, our Grandparents
Stood shoulder to shoulder to fight
No life in general is not about me
 
Praise the Afro-Caribbean’s
Who fought to keep us free
So we all should remember when days are hard to bear
 
Their sacrifice, strength and their bravery entitles us all to be here.
 
 
 War
By Linda

I cannot escape this war and even though my emotions are of fear and dread.
Whatever my fate I will face it.
The night sky is a vision of red and black and the smoke from the gunfire stings my eyes.
The cloud of red and black smoke rises from the ground ascending into the atmosphere.
I smell a stench of sulphur left behind its wake and I hear the constant ping, ping, ping of bullets discharged from the cavalry guns.
I am a young man old enough to fight a war not mature enough for marriage and at sixteen years of age I am far too young to die.
Whatever my fate I will face it.
I will stand strong with my brothers in arms.
The invisible lion within my inner being will power my strength.
I will rise up with a mighty roar.
My enemy will flee before me.
If I die no one will know of my fear and my dread.
I pray that if that ay should come my brothers in alms will say.
He was too young to die but he fought to the death
With the heart of a lion.
 

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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