Somme 100 Manchester - Lemn Sissay Poem - 14-18 NOW
14-18 NOW / What's On / 2016 / SOMME 100 MANCHESTER / Somme 100 Manchester –…
A CREATIVE, COLLECTIVE ACT COMMEMORATING THE SOMME

SOMME 100 MANCHESTER

Free MANCHESTER

Image credit: Manchester Regiment Heaton Park Camp (Manchester Libraries, Information and Archive, Manchester City Council Council)

Listening Post by Lemn Sissay

The past messages of the first born
The last words of the front
The first waves of spring tides
Where night bathes the sun

The words of letters unwritten
The tongue tied and unread
The hymns of the un-congregated
The unheard song unsaid

Tears weighed down for 100 years
Rise up from fallen eyes
The swallows are returning
The crops are lifting the sky

Here comes the blood dread sun
She climbs the edge of plight
All light has the power to stun
All darkness stilled in the night

Shadows slant and stretch
Seeds split beneath earth
Roots of light seek the eye
The opening iris at birth

Here is the child born
The harvest in bloom
Hands hold him to light
To dawn and the dying moon

Light paves the way
Night waves reveal
The breaking new day
Above dew soaked fields

We cannot be defined by war
Not by fields sown with sorrow
Not by the death that befell you
But by the peace that followed

Look what has risen from the fallen
Above long shadows cast
The light that shines from open minds
The torch held in our past

If you could hear at the listening post
One hundred years ahead
And be, as you are, the missing host
Where light and darkness wed

Look what was sown by the stars,
At night across the fields
We are not defined by scars
But by the incredible ability to heal

Here are the past messages of the first born
The last words of the front
The first waves of spring tides
Where night bathes in sun

‘Listening Post’ by Lemn Sissay, 2016

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