Friday, 11 March 2016

Week 10

Image Paul Cliff for Manchester Museum (flickr)
It's been a very exciting week. Dominic and I had a session on Monday working on my drafts (and eating vegan food). It was a very productive afternoon and we've got a draft ready to be unveiled at Stanley Grove school in a couple of weeks. Dominic's in for the day and I'm going along to perform at the assembly. Time to start to learn my script!

In the meantime the snakes have arrived. So I've a weekend spraying their tummies gold and attaching them to the staff. The belts have also arrived so I'll be fully costumed at Stanley Grove - obviously more important than knowing my words.... 

Today at the museum I've made notes for the poem about the meteorites and I've been gnawing away at the problem of what to make the final poem - the one about the future. I did wonder about a cockroach, but I don't want a post-apocalyptic future. I want these children to believe they can make a better future. 

As I've been wandering the museum thinking about the future I keep being drawn up to the top floor - which sort of makes sense - you'll remember last week I was looking at the sky through the windows. 

On that top floor is the aquaponics system - a closed, balanced aquatic system which uses fish poo to feed mint. Then there's a floor dedicated to the ideas of Wonder, Discover, Make and Share. I'm always drawn to the made things. I think our future is a made future. The living world is a triumph of organising forces over the forces of chaos. I think we have to be part of those organising forces. I think the time for just letting things happen will be after the earth has been cured of humans. In the meantime whether we see ourselves as part of nature or as the custodians of nature we have to work in harmony with it. 

So I wrote down 'harmony' and 'creation' and headed down the stairs through the Living Worlds gallery, asking myself again and again what's the symbol of the future. I passed the case labelled 'Peace' - the one full of origami birds, made I think by school children but I'll have to check that. It was one of the stops Dmitri and I made when we created a poetry film about migration. And there it was. Almost a full circle. An image of migration. The act of making, of co-operating, of imagining. Was the image of the future a paper bird? No, of course not. The future is a flock of paper birds. 

As I sat at the bus stop a while later I drafted the core of that final poem: 

The future's a blank piece of paper, 
the future is a word, 
the future's each fold,
each thought, each hand we hold, 
each plan we make, each prayer. 
The future's every dream we share, 
it's a flock of paper birds.

I think there's also a possibility of creating an activity round this where children write their dreams on paper and fold it into birds. I just have to learn how to fold a bird!

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