It can seem impossible to put devastation into words. The appalling terror attack on the Manchester Arena on the evening of 22nd May left 22 dead and 59 injured.
But if there’s one thing that Manchester is good at it’s harnessing the defiant energy of people and standing together through shows of solidarity, community action and words. These heartfelt poems show what a resilient and creative place it is.
Common Thread by Emily Oldfield
Manchester is made with a common thread
From the cotton-age, to years ahead
The place of industrial revolution
We know what it is to forge a future
Dating back to empires of Rome
Here Mamucium set up as home
Taking various shapes along the years
And now it will not fall to fear.
For this is a place of builders, inventors
One of the world’s first railway stations
It’s created Vimto, flying shuttles
Knows how to make a proper cuppa
From the first mill to Trade Union Congress
The city knows how to grow and progress
For we split atoms, not each other
This is a hub of creative culture
Like the suffragettes working for the vote
People still stand for change and hope
Will not be silenced by a single act
When Manchester hurts, it just fights back
The worker bee is on our sleeves
Northern grit in the air we breathe.
Home of the computer, the Hacienda
Football teams on the world agenda
Founded the Hallé’, discovered graphene
Built on the bedrock of what we believe
Which is that we all matter, stand together
Will look forward and still remember
For we are strong and we are tough
And the common thread we have is love.
The Manchester Way by Mike Richardson
Twenty two lives which were taken all too soon
An exciting occasion turned to darkness and gloom
But Manchester remembers those beautiful souls
Eager and ready to pursue their goals
A city standing together in such a tragic event
To these mindless morons a message we have sent
You cannot divide us from our one common goal
To serve justice for those innocent lives you have stole
Today you have hurt us, it more pains me to say
But tomorrow we stand together this is the Manchester way
One Love World by Dan Marshall
Heartbroken families of those who died.
The tale of their lives remains untold by the fire,
to be remembered by us, not a funeral pyre.
A living memory where love is inspired.
All that they were, and for those whom they cared,
it makes us feel anger that they couldn’t be spared.
The shiver down our backs, awakens us to another world,
so let their stories unfold before we get old,
not to cruise on the back of a broken duvet dream,
but to show no fear of killers unseen.
There’s a lot of pain in our neighbourhood,
a crazed man murders everyone he can,
his rage is untamed and knows not bad from good.
In his own mind, what is right and wrong,
bears no consequence to the truth beyond his mental fence;
a thin line between madness and spiritual deliverance.
His terrorism was no coincidence.
He was simply inculcated, poisoned
and educated, to eschew all desires
but destroy what love created.
So while there are many reasons for embracing our rage,
and justifying another war to wage,
keeping our love sacred is the most important of all,
it makes us tall, it honours their fall,
and after all that’s what we are,
one and the same as the stars we gaze,
a supernova explosion from which our bodies are made
So let the flags fly for the innocent who died
and celebrate their short but magnificent lives.
And while the media are keen to smooth down the truth,
like a Zamboni machine on an ice-rink roof,
which hides the building of actual proof
that the terrorism tango takes not one but two;
Know that peace in our world is easy to choose,
it begins in our minds and requires no feuds.
1 Second by Yvonne Higginson
Our hearts are broken
1 second their lives were stolen
1 second the angels heard their cry
1 second they fell from the sky
1 second our lives changed forever
1 second the angels came together
And scooped our loved ones with open arms and kissed their heads to sooth and calm
They whispered words close to their ears
No more pain and no more tears
Memories forever keep
Now in heaven fast asleep
Until we meet again 1 day
Every minute of every day you are in our hearts and there you’ll stay.
Manchester by Leah Ratcliffe
We watch the headlines of bombings
Through a television screen
We tweet the hashtags, add a Facebook flag
To commemorate the scenes
We ache for their loved ones
Shed a tear for all those lost
But given the distance it happened
We don’t feel the terror it embossed
We hurt but we don’t really feel
Until the evil enters our own city
It ruins your faith in humanity
Suddenly the sky stops looking pretty
Bombs, blood, terrorist attacks
The same words repeated, same clips shown
It’s 4am but you can’t sleep
When the safest place you feel, now isn’t your home
With each report you weep some more
The death toll figures continue to grow
Innocent kids have lost their right to live
There’s a world out their they’ll never know.
The streets become barren
The police guard around the clock
Kids, adults scared to leave their home
The city a ghost town in aftershock
But a selfish act of one
Will not defeat this crowd
Because we are Manchester;
We stand together, strong & proud
You can do your worst
But we’ll always rise from the dust
This is our city, our people
United we stand, in each other we trust.
So let us mourn for the innocent
Let us love the ones who’ve lost
Manchester will never bow down
We protect our home at any cost.
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