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Integrated Inspiration An anthology of poetry inspired by The Manchester Museum collection


Integrated Inspiration is an anthology of poetry written during a creative writing course held at The Manchester Museum. It celebrates the poetic creativity of a group of local people interested in wellbeing who worked together with the Museum and nationally acclaimed poet Chanje Kunda over nine weeks. Inspired by the objects they found in the Museum they created a collection of poems exploring history, their experience of life and the world around us. The project was established by the Museum in collaboration with Lime Arts and funded through Renaissance North West as part of the Who Cares? programme looking at the role of museums and galleries in improving health and wellbeing.


Integrated Inspiration Group Poems

My Living Culture Poems

11

Stolen Empire

2

The Expert’s Zeal

12

Short Lived

2

Untitled

12

Footprints

3

Crystal Clear

13

Dance

3

The Soul of Coal

14

A Wonderful World

4

Stan

14

Path less Travelled

4

Iron Rock Formation

15

Scarab Poem

5

I am a Leaf

15

Excavation

5

Untitled

16

Hidden Lion

16

Mammal Biology

17

Individual Poems Cash Cow

6

Invertebrates Teach

18

Money Talks

6

Phoenix from the Flames

18

Katanga Cross

7

Always in my Mind

19

The Warrior

7

What’s it all about!

19

Reasons for the Seasons

8

Angry

20

Taken for Granted

9

Bang, Bang, Bang

21

Trees

10

Herbal

10

The Poets

Back cover 1


group poems Stolen Empire The world is so large but who is in charge The British Empire like an army of vultures Ransacked and brought back riches from other cultures Carved ivory tusks, daggers lined with sharks teeth And delicacies of crocodile meat The years have passed and now we see How these people lived so naturally Things made from wood, things made from leaves Armour made from coconuts found on trees Palm oil that lubricates African drums that vibrate Nations of the world decorate themselves with colours of the earth Masks that celebrate women because they give birth Spicy smells and cowri shells This museum, story tells.

Short Lived You can fear me, love me or hate me I’m an individual, not particularly special Jump into my world of metamorphosis Watch me walk, or swim, then fly I can hide my beauty through the power of camouflage My life is a buzz, I have wings I can be big as a bird or microscopic I live life to the full My days are numbered

2


Footprints Amber, a crust from the sunshine falls below Transparency lets us see inside Life suspended in Marmalade A sharp shark’s tooth three times bigger than a great white’s Time preserved me, I’m still as beautiful as a rock Black smooth but rough edges A fossil fish on a bed of stone Tail like a diver’s flipper Tiny black fragment of a dinosaur egg shell Grey groovy spirals of an ammonite Leaving footprints that remain

Dance A peacock’s feathers dazzle like jewels A blue green ocean goes as far and wide as the eye can see Longing for freedom, prepare for flight Blue birds on trees whistle a song A long narrow green garden Pistachio nuts, a confident squirrel searching for food Eggs hatch a future of hopes and dreams Passion blazes like the colours in the sunrise Shimmering feathers dangle from the poet’s ears An erotic kiss frees us from our earth bound prison Dance

3


group poems A Wonderful World Like a McDonalds cheeseburger, I’m upbeat and ready to go The big cats are away so I feel like it’s party time Would like to go on a rollercoaster in Blackpool The fear and excitement makes me feel alive Warm and flustered, I feel like a fool in love Behind the scenes, my mind is like a herbarium Feeling somewhat relaxed Looking forward to everything Bring it on!

Path less Travelled At the beginning is darkness, like a funeral wreath But I learnt to renew my self belief I walked on a volunteering path At the Museum I learnt to have a laugh Society is a jigsaw and now I fit in I was drowning, now I’ve learnt to swim It’s my turn in the limelight, like a movie I’m here to stay, don’t try to move me The inter-personal interaction Gives my soul some satisfaction A sense of purpose and pride I came along, not just for the ride This experience expanded my mind I never knew the light I would find

4


Scarab Poem My ancestors are from the dawn of time I come from a place that’s sublime Ancient in history, ancient in mystery I’ve walked down the valley of kings My image is etched on rings People fear me because I am like death I was always around, during the last breath From the land of the Nile I push in style I have amassed what you have passed I’m black with a broad back And I walk an endless Track I am the Scarab

Excavation Imagination run wild, images on a Kaleidoscope Each object tells a story, hidden treasure Repeated patterns and processes, stolen symbols Can they find the missing pieces? Empowering identity, fix the Pyramids If you dig inside yourself, you will find your soul

5


individual poems Cash Cow Our Currency is no longer hard We’re buying the world on a credit card Easy come easy go Til the statement arrives We don’t need to know Money for nothing, boom or bust We see it on TV, so have it we must Caveat emptor, half price in store In money we trust, make money equals make war Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, get rich quick There’s money to be made and we’re living on tick Millions are still dying with not enough to eat I went and got that handbag, but do I deserve a treat? Then all of a sudden, the cash cow’s dead The money signs in her eyes have gone to her head Right out of money, oh dear, poor cow, Isn’t life funny, and it’s all due –now! Jane Gilbertson

Money Talks Some have too much Some too little “It makes the world go round”? “It’s the root of all evil”? Julia Davenport

6


Katanga Cross This copper is from an African mine The cross was formed by pinkish lines The Molten metal poured into the mould To form zebra stripes when it went cold To use as money to barter and buy To use as hundreds of years go by The weight and shape may seem severe To others it signifies cheap and dear To buy you sustenance, maybe a wife To keep you alive, maybe some strife Jim Owen

The Warrior I wish I lived near the tram station I wish I had a car I wish I had enough money to buy a car I wish I wasn’t on incapacity benefit I wish I had a job My obstacles are the recession The stream of people in competition with me I am the slave forced to fight the gladiator I am like the lamb in the lion’s den Like the underdog, I won’t give up I am a volunteer, I am a student I am loved, I am a warrior I won’t give up Julia Davenport

7


individual poems Reasons for the Seasons Daffodils sway in the early spring Partners with the primroses doing their thing Apple blossoms like a white virgin bride Cherry trees burst out pink with pride Then petals fall onto the ground Like confetti coloured snow lying all around So many flowers grow here and there Does summer not know quite what to wear? Lazy days and daisy chains Quiet walks down shady lanes Just the slightest hint of breeze Brushes the bright sun dappled trees While insects buzz in a flower filled glade Nature slumbers in the summer shade But the months go by and the year draws on Before you know it summer’s gone As the leaves fall off and turn to brown Mother Nature’s winding down Conkers, acorns in a field Her autumn fruits she starts to yield Then the winter’s fingers come unseen A snowy cloak covers the green The plants wrap up all nice and tight Against its cold and icy might The sky seems bleak, the trees are bare But though it’s hidden, life’s still there Mother Nature’s endless toil Goes on beneath the frozen soil Daffodils wait to come back through And then spring will begin a new Jane Gilbertson

8


Taken for Granted We are a big family, We live on the ground, But we don’t make a sound. We have seeds, stem and leaves, And we sometimes grow on trees. We have many names, But we don’t play games. We create spices for your food, Fruit for cakes and ice cream, And herbs for your mood, Leaves for your tea, And beans for your coffee, Cane for your sugar, And flowers for your mother, Wheat for your bread, And medicine for your head, Cocoa for your chocolate And cotton for your clothes, Fragrances for perfume Like Lavender and rose. Although you see us in the supermarket In packages with labels, We’re there because we were planted, So don’t take us for granted, We are the family of plants. Julia Davenport

9


individual poems Trees Green leaves cling on Failing to fall asunder Emerging from earth Growing imperceptibly stronger The wind blows Tree arms flutter Illumination from street light near I sit and gaze in wonder On oft’ waking from nightly slumber What it is about them that please? I love to look at them and think We are like trees Sam Parker

Herbal I’m a natural sedative So I can relax you, I make a cup of tea Taste fresh, and caffeine free, I come from a flower Of yellow and white, I can make your hair shine And help you sleep at night, When you’ve had a bad day, I will make you calm again And give you back your smile, Have you guessed who I am yet? My name is Camomile. Julia Davenport

10


My Living Culture Poems Implement Rough edges of the cold stone axe From the Caribbean and rough under my fingers Hard, ancient, the shape made perfectly to fit my hands Designed to be held, like my cool, strong lover

Implement two Axe, mortar, for grinding, Tell me your story Your weight so heavy in my arms, dragging me down I feel your history, you were once warm Under the Caribbean sun, now warming as I touch you

Leg Ornament Coils spinning round and round In a spiral of majesty, to adorn Heavy, of weight in society, beautiful Spirals, a black and gold galaxy made bronze Curls around long ebony legs

Woman’s Armlet Tightly curled armlet As tightly curled as a dense afro Twists and turns of our heritage Curved space, round and round Like a tunnel of love... Chanje Kunda

11


individual poems The Expert’s Zeal I’m a convert Fond of insects Fascinated with and by our shared World Gems, stones, mineral deposits Charmed and excited Not only me All the faces Around shone with a childlike glee So a point? Whether one loves a thing or loathes it Cares or not cares On a scale of 1 to 10 Somewhere between Is a joy to have something explained With an expert’s zeal Kerry Wilson

Untitled Like land and seas and bees born through nature like plants and trees Growing from the ground Reaching all around Nurtured through the seasons Used for different reasons Terry Corbett

12


Crystal Clear We began as mountains And ended up as rocks, You can dig for us at quarries Or buy us in shops. We’ve lived here since the dawn of time So we’re very old, We’re hard, strong and solid, We’re in many colours, shapes and sizes, And we have many names, We’re all individuals, and yet We’re all the same. We were born in nature’s garden, But over time we will harden. We are Rose, Clear and Smoky quartz, We are Blue Lace Agate, We are Sodalite, We are Malachite, We are Aventurine and Citrine. We see Angels in the Rainbow, And Demons in the Volcano. We hear, Crystal Clear, Thunder clapping, Wind howling, Waves lapping. We began as mountains, And ended up as rocks. Julia Davenport

13


individual poems The Soul of Coal A lump of coal, black plastic shine Hidden away, until man learned to mine When lit it burns, with a bright leaping flame If we hadn’t found you, would our world be the same? Could it not be beautiful all by itself? Yet you never see coal decorating a shelf Then in the heart of the earth, where it’s dark as night Coal turns into a gem, sparkling and bright It’s mined by those in greatest need And worn as a sign of mankind’s greed The sort of thing we all adore And if we have then we want more A strange idea, it seems to me Coal’s made of carbon, so are we Jane Gilbertson

Stan I’m fearless and I’m a predator I like to hunt whatever the weather My sense of smell and sight are quite acute I will eat you whoever you are, I’m a brute I lived over 65 million years ago, so I’m old I grow to 12 metres and 5 tonnes, so I’m bold, My teeth are razor sharp My skin was scaly, tough and dark My eyes are large just like Godzilla Come and see me at The Manchester Museum I’m the T.Rex. Julia Davenport

14


Iron Rock Formation I symbolise the four seasons of the world When you hold me I am very heavy So I need your strong hands to hold me close I should be cherished with your love As I am older than any ancestor I am icy cold like a block of ice But I am special and will give you a warm heart Being handled is my life If I wasn’t picked up by you my life would have no purpose I am printed with all your finger prints as solid as ground, I come from a rock, I feel like I was made by bursting volcanoes I am proud like women when they wear their jewellery As I have lines of red and gold and black I am filled with iron so I am strong like Popeye I am Australian, I am billions of years old So please don’t drop me, I’ll shatter and be lost forever Charlie Gooding

I am a Leaf I am a leaf From nearby tree fallen Autumn wind blows Causing my downfall I will arise again When season warms Sam Parker

15


individual poems Untitled I start off as an ugly little thing I hide under the leaves From the hustle and bustle Once I am fat and juicy I hibernate from my brothers and sisters My skin rots bare I have a colour change Don’t be afraid Then the day comes When the sun shines This is when I form Into a butterfly My colours are spontaneous But life is good Rameeza Mehmud

Hidden Lion I am a Leo Strong and brave Each year on my birthday I learn how to accept the ones I hate I am a Leo Strong and brave I can fight my fears but be a true friend I am a Leo Strong and brave I won’t live forever but my name will be known always I am a Leo!!! Rameeza Mehmud

16


Mammal Biology We are hot blooded, warm blooded Warm to the touch is who we are Red in our veins, red for passion Like hot coals in fire spreading warmth Red sunset running through our veins The skeleton inside us holds our secrets Marrow fleshy inside bones that are strong Bones that let us hold our heads up And extend our arms and our reach Vertebra that can bend, curl, arch and contract Legs that dance, and leap and climb We are strong inside like bone Nervous system sending signals, messages We have an electric current rippling through us A pulse, a beat, we are music Expansion of our lungs to breath in life Oxygen, our friend that enters us Even in our sleep Teeth, we have bite, are sharp Can grind, can sink into fruit To release the juice Digesting, breaking down Releasing goodness Reproduction is sacred, life giving Is a choice, reproduction is creation And I birth poems Skin is velvet, sometimes hairy Like coconut or prickly like kiwi Sometimes smooth and tight as a drum A mammal, we are a gallery Chanje Kunda

17


individual poems Invertebrates Teach Nature discoveries, a whole new world Many splendid mysteries Sea shells fan shaped, grooves like the blues Starfish, limbs all splayed Making a pattern with its body Showing off its magnificent shape It is proud, inspires us to be open Crabs armour, young warriors Fast and fearless, tough on the outside But beautifully soft and salty on the inside Invertebrates of the sea teach me to swim life Let life wash over me, get carried away with the tide Go deep‌ Chanje Kunda

Always in my Mind Disappearing towns in Africa, villages gone Faras, Halfa, Abu Sembel Shrinking rivers, evaporated dreams Creating lakes of future and hope in their minds The people leaving their land It is like leaving your mother It’s like leaving your heart The museums of the world hold the picture and stories Of disappearing towns and villages So let us get it out, to remember the feeling Of the people who lost their mother And their heart Fadly Shenouda

18


Phoenix from the Flames Searching for happiness Is the journey I have chosen for myself It may be a chalking but Like the wind I can be free The world is my Oyster Like a bird I will fly Through the seven seas I will swim like a fish The sadness in my life Will not last always One day I will be colourful Like a peacock my feathers will shine A curse has been wished upon my soul I know I have done nothing wrong Through thick and thin I will fight The past, the present, the future, All I have is vital My friend I am here to stay Don’t be afraid I can be trusted Rameeza Mehmud

What’s it all about! What’s it all about I hear myself say again Listening more than before Changed, have become more serious What’s it all about! Looking around.... Mind is drifting, cough Cough, find it hard to breath Water, need to drink Talk is muffled, unclear Maybe that was the problem Who knows Alan Finch

19


individual poems Angry I was angry last night and I woke up angry this morning I am an Aries - he a Capricorn, a ram and a goat butting heads All the sniping and the message still didn’t get through I am just going to have to change the things that need changing And see if he’s still there at the end If we are so in love, why are we so insecure? In bed next to him - making small talk so the arguing would stop The blame game again. I hate being angry He said “remember I love you” before I left Coming here is a break, it clears the air Depression and negativity whirl around us like a storm Will our love be a way out? Like a lighthouse showing us a passage through the darkness He looks for the answer in the cards, I look inside my heart I don’t want to lose him, he’s far too precious But I need to lead my own life and follow my true path I think he’ll understand in the end Jane Gilbertson

20


Bang, Bang, Bang Bang, Bang, Bang Here we go again A new day Just like the last Ever since my new neighbours arrived Bang, Bang, Bang At first related to D.I.Y. And new flat fittings and furniture It’s gone on a while now What can I do Bang, Bang, Bang I retaliate to no result I’ve seen the powers that be They say nice words I give my ideas How much can I take Bang, Bang, Bang Sam Parker

21


The Poets Julia Davenport

Fadly Shenouda

I contributed to this book because I love writing, and I wanted to empower and encourage people who don’t normally visit museums, to see that museums are for everyone.

I look at the Museum as integration, integrating culture and histories. Gives me the knowledge, where is my tree, where are branches, gives pride where I am in this tree. By learning all of this it shows the world is from one pot.

Alan Finch For me it was an opportunity for young and old to embark on a journey of expression and discovery.

Charlie Gooding I am pleased with this collection of inspiring and beautiful poems. I dedicate my poems to my family.

Rameeza Mehmud I feel writing is important as through my writing I hope to breakdown prejudice about my disability. I see writing as a form of self expression. I hope you enjoy my poems.

Sam Parker My tours and explorations of the museum stores have developed my ability and confidence in creating poetic works. This has increased my enjoyment and desire to be more creative in my writing.

Jane Gilbertson I have started writing again after a long period of depression and poor mental health. I have found the course a wonderful opportunity to meet other people with similar interests and to increase my self confidence. I very much hope other projects like this will be possible in the future.

Chanje Kunda Chanje Kunda is a poet, playwright and performance artist, of Zambian origin based in Manchester. Her performances combine poetry with music and movement to give the audience an aural and visual rollercoaster ride. She has performed at Rise London Unite Music Festival, Calabash Literature Festival Jamaica and the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester. She has a collection of poetry entitled Afrique Like Me and has been published in many anthologies. A second book is in production entitled A Passionate Storm.


Integrated Inspiration poetry anthology