24 May 2017

Manchester

Did you think that poetry was irrelevant? Did you think it was the preserve of ivory tower intellectuals? Did you think it had nothing to say to the people?  Did you think it was just clever words knitted together? Here's Longfella aka Tony Walsh in Albert Square, Manchester yesterday evening....
This is the place
In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best
And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands
Set the whole planet shaking.
Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music
We make brilliant bands
We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
And we make things from steel
And we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten
And we make you at home
And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen
And we can’t seem to help it
And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth
But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.
And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world
And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride
And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all
Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations
So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.
And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with Rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul
And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance
And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.
And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.
And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.
And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.
And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.
And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.
Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.
And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.
Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”
Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.
And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?
Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.
Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.
Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

23 comments:

  1. Sheffield would say all this in fewer words...but thats Yorkshire for you

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    1. Ee by gum John. Tha's reet lad.

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  2. A good case of when someone needs to step up to the plate and lead. What tragedy! The people of Manchester need support.

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    1. They were the right words at the right moment.

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  3. Wonderful, wonderful...a light among the darkness...

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    1. And in every word he delivered there was the spirit of defiance and disdain for what the cruel bomber had done.

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  4. Was this apart from or because of the Manchester bombing? It is a stirring poem either way, and yes I believe in all kinds of poetry for all kinds of readers and all kinds of situations. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. It wasn't written specifically for the gathering in Albert Square but it seemed to capture the spirit of Manchester and that was what was needed at that moment.

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  5. Thank you for this, it's a true reflection of Mancunians.

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    1. It says it all doesn't it Christina?

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  6. An Ode to Manchester is just what is needed right now. What a beautiful call to rise

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    1. I feel that Mancunians would have walked away from that gathering in Albert Square feeling fortified by that poem.

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  7. Poetry is like music, just without the tune. And like music, it has its place and its time, fitting any situation a human being may encounter in life.

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    1. Teaching English, many kids would say, "I don't like poetry" and I would often retort with, "Well you like songs don't you? Songs are just poems put to music."

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  8. I'm not from Manchester, or even from the North, but this brought a tear to my eye. Rousing stuff. United we stand. Divided we fall.

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    1. Even though I am a rough tough Yorkshireman I also found tears in my eyes when I first heard this amazing recitation. It was perfect for such a tragic moment.

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  9. I'm feeling weepy this morning about the events in Manchester and the sorry state of our world. What a mess.

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    1. It wouldn't be so bad if what happened in Manchester was the ending of all this horror but we know there's more horror in the pipeline. It's just a matter of time.

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  10. It took me three attempts to read this in it's entirety Yorkie, after wiping away the tears.
    And that's the sad part of all this, just honest, proud people, hard-working and most give you the shirt off their back.
    I'm a Warringtonian, have been to those Manchester venues myself, my heart breaks for those families who lost loved-ones.
    ~Jo

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    1. Thanks for calling by Jo. Let us join hands across the ocean for decency, kindness and the love and respect we feel for our fellow human beings.

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    2. Joining hands Yorkie...
      Hope you don't mind, I've shared your post today on my own blog.
      ~Jo

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    3. No problem at all Jo.

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  11. Heard this on TV and I was impressed by the folks allowing him to speak with the pauses in between, that would be unusual here.
    Good poetry speaks to the heart of truth and that is why this is moving.
    I am praying for the people of Manchester.
    Thank you for printing this poem on your blog.

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