This week Mayflower 400 Young City Laureate for Plymouth, Holly Peters takes a moment to stop and listen. Read her powerful poem...

'Listening'

We watched the world change,
Shrink.
Now we watch it change again –
Nothing fixed, nothing still.
Spinning at a thousand miles per hour,
Dizzy.
We’re watching the world change,
Rushing. Bursting.
Splitting the too-tight seams that have
Suffocated people who deserve to breathe.

I am a squeak; listen to their shout.
Their song, expanding lungs with so much to say,
The corrupt foundations tremble.
Beg for them to cave in,
Rubble and dust.
Bronze sinking to the bottom of the harbour.
Never should’ve been built,
Rebuild.
Do better.

Crumbling,
Told to stay apart but marching
Shoulder to shoulder,
Because unity is fractured –
Because unity has always been a paper dream:
Shred-able, rip-able, forgettable –
Bones cracking, air starving,
Fighting another virus,
Chanting, refusing to forget,
World at the brink,
On the edge,
Give it a shove.
Fight for a right to live.

Where is humanity?
When did it slip away?
Through the cracks,
Why didn’t we hear it shatter?
Hear it smash?
Listen now.

We haven’t done enough,
ang our heads in shame,
Do better.

Unsure how we fix the world.
How we replace the grey
With green and blue.
Educate ourselves, spark,
Windows to be smashed, greed to be burnt.
Shout to be heard.

I can’t understand. Can’t relate.
An enemy stuck wool to our eyes,
Curriculums, and media distortion.
Desperate to learn.
Forgiveness too much to ask.
We’ll kneel.
I will follow,
Not our decisions to make.

Don’t just watch the world change,
Silence is blowing out the candle
And wafting away the smoke.
Feed it, nurture it,
Let the flame billow,
Let the fire burn it to the ground.

Words: Holly Peters

This entry is a collaborative commission by Plymouth Culture and Literature Works. It has been reproduced from the original, posted here.